FIGHTS between gangs of teenagers are being arranged through text messages and social network websites.
Much of the trouble seems to centre on the underpass at the bottom of Primrose Avenue in Grangemouth – a popular shortcut to get to Falkirk Stadium and the Bog Road area.
The youngsters involved are mostly aged between 13 and 17, but children as young as 11 are seen hanging around the are.
One resident, who did not want to be named, said: “They come here in groups of 30 or 40, some of them are carrying sticks. The fights stopped for a while, but the youngsters are always here drinking.
“This has gone on for years but the police are paying more attention to it now. They say if we see anything kicking off we have to call them.”
Another householder said: “We see them running out of the tunnel and up the street. A man’s car was damaged while they were messing about.
“They usually start gathering at 8 p.m. but have been here as early as 5 p.m. Some of them have been doing the toilet in people’s gardens – it’s horrible.”
According to Central Scotland Police there have been minor running battles between high school age children in areas such as the Braes, Hallglen and Laurieston for nine months.
However, things stepped up a gear a fortnight ago when a serious assault occurred in Primrose Avenue and the Bog Road area as 50 youths took to the streets.
Chief Inspector Gordon Dawson said: “It’s only a small group of youngsters who want to fight each other, but then you have people who want to come and watch. Through instant messaging, mass texts and Facebook you then have a small group fighting and a huge crowd who are as spectators.”
Police say the majority of youngsters at the latest incident were there to view the fight, having being informed it was happening via multiple texting and Facebook alerts.
Chief Inspector Dawson said: “We nipped it in the bud fairly quickly, but then you have these youngsters running around the streets chasing each other. People don’t like seeing large groups of youths running around.”
A re-match between gangs was organised last week, but police were on hand to break things up before they got started.
The chief inspector said. “We have now visited over 30 young people and warned them in front of their parents and, where we have evidence, some have been charged.
“We have also been speaking to schools to try and get the message across.”