SECURITY is being stepped up across Wirral's parks in a summer crackdown on youth disorder.

Police and park security teams are increasing the numbers of officers on patrol to tackle anti-social behaviour head on.

The move comes after complaints from residents claiming many of the borough's parks had become no go areas as they felt threatened by gangs of drunken youths.

Officers hope to use a range of tactics to keep young people away from crime, including joining them in activities such as football and fishing.

Ashton Park in West Kirby, Coronation Park in Greasby, Central Park in Wallasey, Arrowe Park and Birkenhead Park are just a few of the open spaces regularly abused by vandals.

High visibility policing will now take place around the parks, and the council has upgraded its ranger and community patrols.

Officers will also be carrying out test alcohol purchases in bordering off-licences.

A spokeswoman for Merseyside Police said: "There will be an increased police presence in all the parks in Wirral throughout the summer. This will be to provide a reassuring presence, crack down on crime and disorder and offer advice to members of the public using the parks. The main aim will be to deter youth disorder."

In Wallasey, two officers have been dedicated to patrol Central Park between 2pm and 10pm to help reduce crimes such as robbery, theft and criminal damage, which increase during the school holidays. They will use fixed penalty notices and enforce licensing legislation.

Youth workers from Wirral Young Persons Project will also be on hand to point teenagers towards a range of organised activities. Their Kontactabus will be in the park every day to give out information.

Kate Aspinall, Neighbourhood Inspector for Wallasey, said: "Sometimes people are fearful of using the many parks and open spaces throughout Wirral and we are continually working hard to change this."

A spokeswoman for Wirral council said: "We will be increasing the numbers of rangers and community patrols to look out for any disorder in Wirral's parks."