POLICE officers have vowed to crack down on antisocial behaviour at Barnsley Interchange following increasing reports of gangs of youths causing mayhem in the town centre.

Over the last week, a total of 60 stop-searches have been conducted at the site for drugs, while nine public space protection orders were issued which effectively ban well-known perpetrators from entering the town centre area.

Four individuals were identified to be in breach of police-imposed bail conditions whilst six arrests were made.

These included offences of assault, theft and court warrants.

A spokesperson for South Yorkshire Police said: “Due to increasing reports of gangs of youths engaging in antisocial and criminal behaviour in and around Barnsley Interchange, officers have responded and conducted a proactive policing operation this week to target criminality and identify those responsible.

“This not only included offenders, but also young people displaying concerning behaviours, who could be assisted with early intervention from SYP and our partner agencies.

“The team have been working alongside colleagues in other departments including the child exploitation team, other local neighbourhood teams, British Transport Police and also external partners from Barnsley Council and SYMCA.”

It comes after almost 100 vulnerable children were visited by police officers in the town centre as part of a scheme to stop exploitation of youngsters.

As part of the operation held last month, neighbourhood policing teams and roads policing officers came together alongside dog handlers, Barnsley Council and community groups to safeguard those at risk through hotspot patrols and to provide early intervention to those who could be affected.

The town centre was the main area of focus, with teams stopping and speaking with children who would often congregate around Barnsley Interchange.

Officers spoke to 86 children and seven adults who were identified as being vulnerable, and safeguarding referrals and intelligence has been submitted.

This has subsequently prompted an arrest in the town centre.

“Further to this, a warrant was executed under section 23 of the Misuse of Drugs Act at a property close to the town centre,” they added.

“Intelligence was received that the occupants of this address were supplying young individuals with controlled drugs.

“This had the knock-on effect of them consuming it within the town centre and displaying consequent behaviour.

“A male, 31, was arrested for possession with intent to supply a controlled drug and has since been released on bail whilst enquiries continue.

“As a team and a force, SYP are invested in supporting the young people in our communities.

“We pride ourselves in ensuring support is offered to prevent concerning behaviour escalating, and dealing with it robustly when it is necessary.

“We also appreciate the impact this type of behaviour can have on the community, for the people that live, work and attend the town centre.

“We will continue to listen to your concerns and act on them.”