With its grandiose lawns and world renowned Regency architecture, it is one of the most beautiful and salubrious sites in Brighton and Hove.

But Palmeira Square and its neighbour Adelaide Crescent have been transformed into weekend drinking dens for middle-class teenagers.

Up to 200 children, aged as young as 12, have descended on the regal gardens on a weekly basis for more than a month, leaving mountains of beer cans and wine bottles for the well-heeled neighbours to pick up.

A dispersal order could now be imposed which will allow police to move the children on and cut antisocial behaviour.

A petition has already been drawn up with 70 signatories and councillors and residents are both calling for the new powers to be introduced.

Police said they are considering a dispersal order and will be discussing the plan with Brighton and Hove City Council over the following month.

Paul Elgood, councillor for Brunswick and Adelaide, said the area has attracted youths in previous years but that the crowds were bigger than ever.

He said: "Large groups have been gathering on Hove Lawns and in Palmeira Square, drinking and causing antisocial behaviour.

"With the later evenings it has started again and got worse, we are having up to 200 young people there.

"They were rampaging again on Friday and Saturday - it is totally out of place and not acceptable in any part of the city.

"Every week the police are having to come down to move them on and take away their alcohol and it has clearly got out of hand.

"We are working closely with the police who are doing a really good job but we need to find other activities for young people.

"They are probably from local schools and they are not the kind of people you usually expect to be making trouble.

"Residents say they are picking up hundreds of cans and bottles of wine afterwards.

"I fully support a dispersal zone because it is time for the problem to be tackled but we need to ensure that we are not just moving it elsewhere."

Dispersal orders have been used in other parts of the city including Preston Park, where police say the scheme has been a success.

Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act revealed that Sussex Police dispersed 700 people in three months in Preston Park at the beginning of 2006. By May, that had fallen to 60 people dispersed.

Sergeant Richard Delacour said officers had been patrolling the area at weekends.

He said: "There is a problem around Adelaide Crescent and Palmeira Square with young people drinking and we are liaising with the local authority about a dispersal order.

"There is a large group of people who seem to cause antisocial behaviour.

"We cannot just leave them there and hope that they do not play up but we cannot gather enough evidence that they are doing anything criminal."

Richard Albright, 64, of Adelaide Crescent, is a member of the Friends of Palmeira and Adelaide and has launched a petition calling for action.

He said: "The police have suggested a dispersal order and we would like this sorted out before the summer gets going. It is has not been as bad in previous years as it is this year.

"We hope that the council find somewhere for them to go."

Have you had trouble with gangs of yobs congregating in your area? Leave your comments below.