A dispersal order has been placed on Worthing town centre to tackle anti-social behaviour from street drinkers.

The three-month order, known as a section 30 order, was agreed on by Sussex Police and Worthing Borough Council. It came into effect on Saturday June 1 and will continue until August 31.

Police officers and police community support officers can now tell groups of two or more people who are causing significant and persistent anti-social behaviour to leave the area and not return for up to 24 hours.

A spokeswoman for Sussex Police said that the order is not designed to create an exclusion zone or a curfew area, but is intended to make the area more pleasant for visitors and those who live or work there.

She added that police will not necessarily disperse people in the area just because they are in a group and that the order is aimed at giving police additional powers to deal more effectively with groups who decide to cause problems.

PC Marv Lucas, of Worthing's Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: "This dispersal zone will help us to combat anti-social behaviour which is primarily caused by the street drinking community in the town centre.

"This order will help the immediate problems their anti-social behaviour can cause but we are looking at the longer term help we can give these people alongside our partners at the council, Crime Reduction Initiative and Worthing Churches Homeless Project.

"We are introducing this zone for the residents and businesses who have been affected by the street drinkers who cause some anti-social behaviour in the Liverpool Gardens and Montague Street area."

Officers who work in the town will join representatives from other agencies at an open day on June 11 from 11am to 1pm at Liverpool Gardens to offer support and advice to the street community.

John Mitchell, director for communities at Adur and Worthing Councils, said: "We will continue to support a variety of measures to reduce the impact of the behaviour of this small group of individuals which includes both enforcement and assistance where appropriate."

A video with PC Lucas and Worthing Town Centre Initiative manager Sharon Clarke talking about the dispersal order is available at: