A COUNCILLOR has blasted the actions of yobs taking part in an online challenge - which has left elderly residents very distressed.

Dorset Police said youths have been violently kicking people's front doors across the Poundbury area in Dorchester - and officers have been going undercover to try and catch those responsible.

The undercover teams were out on Friday following 'multiple reports of anti-social door knocking and violent door kicking', Dorchester police said.

READ MOREDorset teenagers target elderly in TikTok Heartbeat challenge

Dorset Echo: Poundbury councillor Susie HosfordPoundbury councillor Susie Hosford

The criminal damage is being linked to a worrying TikTok trend which sees participants approach the front door of a home and bang as loud as they can with their hands and feet to the beat of pop singer Kesha's 2012 hit Heartbeat.

Poundbury councillor Susie Hosford said she was first told about the distressing actions five weeks ago.

She said: "A few elderly residents in Poundbury have come forward and they're very upset.

"I was first informed by a resident about this behaviour more than five weeks ago, and it seems to have snowballed and spiralled from there. I'm aware it started with a row of houses next to the Great Field and it's spread from there.

"Some of these elderly residents have been socially isolating for a long time due to the pandemic and it's left them in a nervous, alarmed and in a vulnerable state."

Dorset Echo: The Great Field, Poundbury. Picture: Trevor BevinsThe Great Field, Poundbury. Picture: Trevor Bevins

She added: "Although Poundbury does have a reputation for having a high retirement population, I wouldn't say the elderly are being targeted with this trend.

"I have received reports of these incidents happening to younger people in the area too."

On Friday, November 19 between 5.30pm and 10pm Dorchester Police's Neighbourhood Policing Team said it conducted plain clothes patrols in the area of The Great Field and surrounding areas of Poundbury after multiple reports of anti-social door knocking and violent door kicking over several weeks in the location.

Cllr Hosford added: "A message I would say to those involved in these actions is, spare a thought to the victims who are vulnerable because this is causing them a lot distress.

"The increase in a police presence is very welcome."

A spokesman from Dorset Police said: "This behaviour by groups of youths has been causing extreme anxiety and distress to many residents including elderly victims.

"Our team would appreciate parents reinforcing a message to young people not to copy behaviour seen on social media such as the TikTok Heartbeat challenge. Patrols will continue."