The troubled Hopkins Precinct is to become the first area in Alcester to benefit from new police powers to move on nuisance youths.

From Friday, police can use the 'Section 30 Order' allowing them to disperse gangs of youths and escort loitering youngsters home.

The Precinct has been at the centre of recent complaints, with gangs of up to 60 youths congregating and intimidating shoppers and shopkeepers.

Earlier this month the Chronicle reported the launch of Operation Festoon, which saw an increase in the number of police officers on patrol in the area, using tougher measures to deal with crime.

Alcester sector Inspector Tim Bailey said nuisance behaviour had worsened in the last six months but he hoped the order would restore discipline to trouble hotspots in the town.

He said: "Youngsters are very welcome to spend time outdoors so long as they are not behaving in a manner which could intimidate, alarm or upset others."

The order covers Hopkins Precinct and surrounding roads. Posters and notices are being displayed and distributed around the town to inform residents about the six-month scheme.

l Alcester is one of a number of Warwickshire towns to host a police "Specials Weekend".

The event, backed by the Home Office, takes place this weekend and aims to celebrate the contribution made by special constables. It also hopes to encourage people to join the voluntary special police force.

Townsfolk can see the antisocial behaviour patrols at first hand when they travel around Alcester on Friday evening. And cycle coding and crime prevention advice will be offered at Studley Village Hall from midday on Saturday and Sunday.