Angus police are working with supermarkets in a bid to stamp out anti-social behaviour from abusive youths.
Increased patrols have been set up around supermarkets where youths are gathering in numbers and several calls have been made to parents in Arbroath.
Youths are gathering outside to shelter from the cold and often to use free WiFi but a small number of them are causing problems for staff and customers alike.
Inspector Steven Smith, Angus locality Inspector, said: “For some time now, we have had increased patrols around some supermarkets and other areas where we know that youths are gathering in numbers, and these will continue.
“We know that the youngsters hang around the supermarkets in particular due to their having free WiFi, and obviously they afford a degree of shelter from the cold conditions.
“However, this can lead to annoyance and aggravation for customers and staff there alike.
“We are working with the supermarkets, seeking solutions.
“We would like to reinforce our previous message that parents and carers have responsibility for their children, and should know where they are and what they’re up to.
“As part of our festive safety plan we will continue to give these areas extra attention and deal with these matters as they present themselves and in an appropriate manner.”
Police said there has been an increase in the number of incidents regarding anti-social behaviour involving youths within the local communities of Angus.
One of the most common issues relates to supermarkets being used as congregation points for large numbers which have deterred many people from purchasing groceries.
Other issues include items being thrown at property and vehicles.
Police have urged parents, guardians and carers to encourage their children to attend one of the county’s ‘drop-in’ centres rather than gathering outside supermarkets.
Arbroath East and Lunan Conservative councillor Derek Wann said: “I would urge parents to ensure they know where there children are hanging about.
“The majority of youths I am sure are not causing trouble but a minority are and this can’t be allowed to happen.
“Anti-social behaviour of any kind cannot and will not be tolerated.
“Businesses are complaining as it keeps customers away.
“The police will be stepping up their patrols in these areas.
“It would be good if the youths attended some of the drop-in centres that are open where they can hang about and have a safe environment to meet their friends.”