POLICE have been urged to take action over groups of people, believed to be taking drugs and drinking alcohol, who shout abuse and intimidate shoppers in Devizes.

Sgt Pete Foster, who has just taken up the role of sergeant in the town, was told at his first meeting with town councillors, that more needed to be done to stop the anti-social behaviour.

Town councillor Jeannette Von Berg told him: "It is particularly bad on Thursdays and Saturdays. Groups of them gather outside Sainsburys and they are shouting abuse. I was there at 11am last Saturday and there were groups in hoodies causing trouble. It is very intimidating especially for older people.

"We need more police patrols."

Sgt Foster was also told of problems with people apparently taking drugs near St John's Church in Long Street.

He said that although he was new to the town he was aware of problems with drug taking and urged anyone who sees anything suspicious to report it. He said that targeted patrols were in operation at known spots such as St Mary's churchyard and St John's churchyard.

But one Devizes man who says he was so worried about the amount of drug taking and drug deals he saw being undertaken from his window said he was fobbed off when he tried to report it at Devizes Police Headquarters in London Road.

He said: "I have children and I am disgusted by what I see and how little is being done about it." He visited police headquarters and asked to speak to a senior officer about his worries. He said: "I was told at first that there wasn't anyone available and to ring 101.

"After I complained they did send someone down but he didn't seem to be very interested. I see drugs being taken all the time and I have pictures but the police don't seem to want to know."

But a spokesman for Wiltshire Police said: "We encourage all local residents who suspect drug activity in their area to report it to police immediately. This helps us build up an intelligence picture and enables us to take the appropriate course of action. We understand the impact drug use can have on a community and we are committed to dealing with it robustly. Reports that we receive from the public help strengthen our case when seeking a charge from the Crown Prosecution Service.

“Our officers regularly attend local town council meetings and area boards, should anyone with any concerns wish to speak to an officer direct - Sgt Pete Foster attended the most recent town council meeting.

“Devizes is a safe place to live and work, but we would encourage anyone who suspects drug activity to report it by calling 101 and speaking to one of our call handlers. Alternatively, visit one of our local enquiry offices in Chippenham, Marlborough, Melksham, Salisbury, Swindon or Trowbridge.”