Students have been banned from a number of town centre shops on the Herefordshire border after reports of “vile” anti-social behaviour.

Gloucestershire Police said they were looking into ongoing issues with high school students Newent, between Ross-on-Wye and Ledbury, causing problems to businesses and shoppers at the end of the school day.

Pupils have been coming into the town centre to catch buses home, and people have reported a variety of anti-social behaviour from a small number of them.

This has included racially abusing shop staff, verbally abusing and assaulting members of the public and potentially causing road traffic accidents by acting unsafely on the road.

Officers are currently working with Newent Community School and Sixth Form, Newent Town Council and businesses to put in place measures to prevent the ongoing issues.

This has included putting extra officers on patrol at the end of the school day, banning students from certain premises and putting in place a dispersal order.

'Deep concerns'

Dispersal orders give police extra powers to break up groups of two or more people if their behaviour is causing a nuisance, harassment or distress.

Sergeant Alex Kear said: “There have been numerous incidents over the last few weeks involving a small number of teenagers who have been causing problems in Newent at the end of the school day.

“Their behaviour has been nothing short of vile and it is causing deep concerns for many of the residents and businesses in the town.

“We are taking positive action in order to put a stop to this behaviour from the few teenagers who are giving others at the school a bad name.

“We’re aware that a number of these incidents are being reported by the public to the school, but would urge anyone who witnesses or is the victim of this behaviour to contact us directly as well so we can take the appropriate action.”

Anyone who witnesses any anti-social behaviour is asked to report it to Gloucestershire Constabulary. If the incident is on-going at the time of calling, call 999.

Newent Community School and Sixth Form declined to comment.