PEEBLES Community Council wants to unite with young people in the town in a bid to tackle ongoing anti-social behaviour.

Vandalism, underage drinking, littering, and graffiti are never off the group’s agenda.

Over the last year, calls for more proactive policing led to upped patrols of the Police Community Action Team.

And the help of youth manager Dave Hodson from the Tweeddale Youth Action has resulted in suggested diversionary work.

He has joined forces with community councillors Malcolm Bruce and Sophie Hamilton, who have walked the length at breadth of Peebles at weekends trying to engage with youngsters to no avail.

Mr Bruce said: “What Sophie and I have engaged in are attempted efforts than actual efforts because it has to be said that, going out on a Friday night and having a wander up to the dookits or down to the pavilion at Whitestone Park or over to the new play park at Victoria Park, all of which we’ve covered, isn’t necessarily a scientific way of finding young people to engage with.

“We have had evenings where we have been out for over an hour and spoken to nobody. With that in mind, the last time we were out, the three of us did have the opportunity to have a really good chat and what we have agreed between ourselves is that a much more scientific way of engaging is needed.

“Just simply walking up and down the street looking for kids isn’t the way to do it, and it’s not going to provide a cross-section of opinion; if we get an opinion at all, that would be worthy of basing any policy on.”

The community council is now hoping to join forces with Peebles High School to combat anti-social behaviour.

“We see the solution to this as a proper level of engaging with, primarily Peebles High, we may drive that down to the feeder primaries because there may well be P6/7’s out and about at night indulging in anti-social behaviour,” said Mr Bruce.

“We do feel that the high school has a major role to play in this. They’re responsible for shaping these young people into responsible adults, and this is very much a part of that.

“So I don’t see how they cannot get involved, and I hope they get involved enthusiastically.

"The route we hope to take is to agree between ourselves, a questionnaire or a discussion document. We put our thoughts down on paper and have that placed on every pupil’s school iPad with a requirement that they put some sort of written response into it during school time as part of the curriculum.

"I believe there is something called pastoral time, so there will be time for the kids to sit and read what we have to say, which will be along the lines of that we’re not very happy about the anti-social behaviour that is going on in the town, but we would really like to know from them, why they think it’s happening and what they would like us, as local administrators, to do about it.”

The community council is inviting youngsters to join one of their future meetings.

Mr Bruce said: “We want to invite them to speak to us directly and just listen to what they’ve got to say and see if we can figure out a solution to this horrible problem between us.”