GUARD dogs have been drafted in to patrol a new school site because it is continually being targeted by gangs of yobs.

Essex County Council says security of the site, off Alderney Gardens, in Wickford has been ramped up, after a series of problems with anti-social behaviour.

It comes after residents reported youths causing fires and riding motorbikes around the site, which is in the process of being transformed into a pupil referral unit.

As a result, county hall bosses have confirmed a dog handling unit will be deployed to the site.

Andy Smith, 67, of Wickford said: “They are causing a real nuisance at the site with revving motorbikes and smoke from fires. It’s disgusting and we shouldn’t have to put up with this at all. The county council needs to be sorting this out as land owner.

“We can’t have gangs of yobs going around doing whatever they like and us as taxpayers fitting the bill all the time.

“These kids are clearly feral and bored and they and their parents should be assumed of themselves.”

Peter Holliman, Tory councillor for Wickford North said: “There’s no reason why families should be disturbed like this. As people’s home life is being affected we need to clamp down on the issue.”

“There’s also the issue of Covid-19 restrictions which young people seem to think do not apply to them.”

The pupil referral unit will be used for 100 students and the site was previously home to Barn Hall School.

The proposals state there will be 25 primary and 75 secondary children places available at the unit.

An Essex County Council spokesman said: “We take the security of all our sites very seriously and have employed mobile patrols at this particular location. Unfortunately we have recently seen an increase in antisocial activity here and following continued trespassers on this site have now increased our security measures to include a dog handling unit.”