Six youngsters were made to sit down with their parents and police to sign ‘acceptable behaviour contracts’ to bring to an end pre Christmas disorder in Walsoken.

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Inspector Robin Sissons of Cambridgeshire Police said in most cases a housing association was involved too after the youngsters were warned that continued problems could threaten their family home.

“They had been identified as causing chaos in and around shops in Walsoken,” said Insp Sissons. “In the main part they were hanging around causing trouble, knocking on doors and running off, and were abusive too.”

In some instances, he said, the group – aged between 14 and 17- had been found to have asked older people to buy cigarettes for them from a local shop.

Police said the ‘acceptable behaviour contracts’ were used to list everything a young person was doing and then, if the parents lived in social housing, to get it signed off between the offender, their parents and a housing association representative.

“Once these were signed off we noticed the situation in the area had calmed down significantly,” said Insp Sissons.

His boss, Chief Inspector Mike Winters, even took to Twitter to champion the success of the action, telling people it had “ensured a quiet Christmas for their ‘victims’”.

Insp Sissons said signing of the contracts basically provide a “shot over the bows telling the young people concerned that if they carry on misbehaving their mum and dad could lose the family home”.

He said the contracts were one step below applying for an anti social behaviour order and were often a successful remedy to deal with local issues.

“In Walsoken one or two residents complained of being harassed every night,” he said. “We needed to put a stop to that.”

He said parents often didn’t know what their children were up to and alth0ugh no family had ever been evicted as a consequence of the contracts, the fact they could provided a useful deterrent.

“Sometimes it is a useful took for example where if a parent is a bit weak it gives them additional support to ground or correct their children,” said Insp Sissons.

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