A paving scheme aimed at helping tackle anti-social behaviour on a South Tyneside estate is on the path to success.
Raised paving was installed in a part of Horsley Hill where it borders Harton - in response to concerns over gangs of youths hanging around shops causing a nuisance to shopkeepers and residents.
The move came in for some criticism after the scheme was accused of being a ploy by the council to deter homeless people from sleeping rough in the area - claims which were strongly denied by the local authority.
The council said the paving was installed in conjunction with the police.
Since the paving was put in place, officers patrolling the area say there has been a “significant” reduction in complaints of anti-social behaviour in that area.
Sergeant Julie Beattie said: “We have seen a significant decrease in cases of anti-social behaviour in the Horsley Hill Square area.
We have been to the shops and we have received some positive results from the shopkeepers and residents.Sgt Julie Beattie
“We have had very few reports to the police in relation to large groups of youths gathering.
“We have been to the shops and we have received some positive results from the shopkeepers and residents.”
She added: “The ongoing work has really benefitted the area.
“There was a bit of flack over the raised paving, but it wasn’t there to deter any homeless person. It was there to stop young people standing in that really dark corner.”
She added any homeless people officers come across are referred onto agencies which can help them.
The results have also been praised by local councillors.
Coun Mark Walsh said: “I’m over the moon that the joint efforts between the police, the council, the youth services and local schools, is working.
“We have visited the area to highlight the need for youngsters to be responsible when they are out on the streets, and to take into consideration other users in the area.
“Where this paving is, is a bit of a dead end and the pathway was still there for people to walk along.
“The raised kerbs have proved to be a bit of a deterrent and things have improved in the area.”
The paving is a modern type of cobble slab.
At the time of paving being installed, the council said it was also looking at improving the lighting in the corner in a bid to improve visibility.