A PIONEERING sound device has been installed outside a Chester shop in a bid to force nuisance youths to 'buzz off '.
A Mosquito Sonic Teenage Deterrent, bought by the Spar store at The Parade, Blacon, is believed to be the first of its kind in Cheshire.
The £622 device, which has hit the national headlines in recent weeks, emits 85 decibel soundwaves.
They create a buzzing noise which helps to drive young people away, but is difficult for older people to hear.
The installation of the device outside The Spar coincides with the launch of police campaign Operation Comet, which aims to crackdown on spiralling incidents of low-level vandalism and anti-social behaviour in the area.
The Spar declined to comment on its new gadget, which can be turned on and off by staff and is protected by security casing.
But the consensus among leading community figures was that while anything was worth a try, the device could simply end up moving the problem.
Blacon Neighbourhood Management youth work coordinator, Gary Atkinson, said: 'We need to see it in action to see if it works.
'It could be a short-term solution to a long-term problem because it may just disperse the youths around the corner.
'All the agencies need to work together to address the issue with young people.'
Blacon Lodge councillor, Reggie Jones, said: 'There's an element of anti-social behaviour that goes on there but just because people gather together it doesn't mean they are necessarily responsible.
'They can be intimidating, especially for older people.
'It could simply move the youths on, but we should look at anything that could create a better shopping experience with interest.'
Sam Champman, community safety manager at Chester City Council, said: 'Any measure that can reduce crime, disorder and anti-social behaviour in Chester will be welcomed by me.
'I'm going to be looking at whether this works or not.'
'Anything is worth a go'
A LEADING Chester police officer says the Mosquito device could be a useful tool in helping to fight anti-social behaviour.
Insp Rob Woodward, of the outer sector Neighbourhood Policing Unit, said: 'Anything is worth a go. The Parade has been a problem area for many years because of the shops lighting and cover.
'We realise there could be displacement issues but this is another tool in the armoury.'
Launching Operation Comet, Insp Woodward said there had been 221 crimes in Blacon Hall and Blacon Lodge in February, 'about an 18% increase' on the January figure and above the 109 target figure.
He said: 'There have been high levels of criminal damage and offences like theft from cars coinciding with the release of several offenders from prison.
'I had a meeting with the Crime and Disorder Partnership and secured additional funds for extra patrols in Blacon.'
There are now two extra officers patrolling at night, taking the total to six.
Plain clothes officers will also be used, and new community support officer Melanie Dixon is due to start work.