Police have been given extra powers to move anyone believed to be behaving anti-socially in Leigh Old Town. 

A dispersal order has been put in place amid anti-social behaviour and repeated Covid breaches.

The 24 hour order runs until 6.30pm tonight. 

It comes after a large group of people were seen gathered in crowds along the seafront yesterday afternoon.

Police feared the group's anti-social behaviour would have continued into this evening.

The zone - which gives police special powers to order people to leave - also includes Leigh Library Gardens - a key part of Leigh where young people congregate.

Read more:

A spokesman for Essex Police said: "It follows reports of a large group of people congregating along the seafront and behaving anti-socially.

"The order has been put in place to prevent crime and disorder and prevent people living in the area being harassed, alarmed or distressed.

"It gives officers powers to move anyone believed to be behaving anti-socially from the area."

Witnesses say Leigh Old Town was left covered in broken glass and food.

Business owners have spoken out on the trouble amid fears the street drinkers will return once the dispersal order has finished.

Sara Welton, the owner of Sara's Tea Gardens in the old town, said: "It was carnage, it was so bad.

"There was broken glass everywhere. The bins are so full."

Leigh saw a wave of anti-social behaviour problems in the summer, with crowds seen street drinking.