Police have hailed an operation which has resulted in a gateway to Weymouth becoming a safer place.

The summer operation saw British Transport Police team up with Dorset Police to target yobs at the train station with enhanced patrols in the area targeting 'problem' individuals and others who cause trouble.

This has led to incidents of crime and anti-social behaviour in the area dropping by almost half between May and September, compared with the same period last year.

The total number of incidents in the period this year were 72, compared to 133 last year – a drop of 46 per cent. This follows enhanced patrols at the station during the summer months.

The station entrance off King Street has long been a problem hotspot with people congregating in the area to drink and take drugs.

British Transport Police, the national force for the railways, said the operation – which followed continued anti-social behaviour at the station – used 'tried and tested' tactics including dispersal notices which prevented 'problematic individuals' from re-entering the station for up to 24 hours.

BTP officers also issued two local men with Withdrawal of Implied Permission (WIPs) which have effectively banned them from the railway station for six months.

Sergeant Mark Stook of British Transport Police said: “Our partnership with Dorset Police has proved to be particularly successful in tackling anti-social and criminal behaviour during the summer months – at a time when we generally see an increase in holidaymakers and other visitors to the town, many of whom will pass through the station.

“We have shown to those individuals, who have historically caused problems for the staff and members of the public that their behaviour will not be tolerated, and we will always prosecute those who commit offences.”

Weymouth Neighbourhood Inspector Steve Yeoman added: “It shows the benefits of taking a problem solving collaborative approach.

“We will continue to tackle anti-social and criminal behaviour in Weymouth and take positive action through engagement and the use of necessary enforcement tactics. We can only achieve this by working with our partners and with the support of the public who report incidents to us.”

British Transport Police and Weymouth police say they will continue working together and further joint events are being planned for the coming months.

Criminal and anti-social incidents at Weymouth station should be reported to British Transport Police by calling 0800 405040; if texting 61016. Call 999 in an emergency.

Drug dealing still witnessed

The Echo reported last year about the ongoing problems at the station, prompting traders and community leaders to call for action to deal with anti-social behaviour.

It was claimed the station had become a meeting place for groups of people drinking and taking drugs, with various ‘disgusting’ activities reportedly taking place there.

In response to claims from police that the situation had improved with a reduced number of incidents, Jason Williams, manager of the adult store near the station, said: "I do agree that there have been fewer people congregating outside the station this summer.

"I rarely see a police officer patrolling in this area however.

"I think it has been left to the local traders to report incidents rather than the police being here in the first place."

He added: "I continue to witness drug use and dealing in the little recess where the gate is opposite my shop and at the phone box. I did call the police about it but nothing seems to have been done.

"The station CCTV doesn't pick them up there. I think if they got rid of that recess it would help as people wouldn't have anywhere to hide."