OPERA music has been suggested as a way to deal with rowdy youths throwing parties in public areas.

Groups of up to 80 teenagers have been drinking, smoking and playing football on Hove Lawns this week, angering residents who have branded them “stupid little idiots”.

Labour councillor for the area Chris Henry said police and the city council are “powerless” to tackle the groups, who have been meeting amid coronavirus restrictions.

On Thursday, he said: “Today I had a conference call with the chief executive of the council and executive officers. I asked specifically about Hove Lawns and the startling and sudden increase in young people congregating together. Unfortunately the police and council are powerless to stop this.

“The council had considered marshals patrolling the area but felt they would be ignored and would merely inflame the situation. I asked that high visibility signs be erected to at least warn and remind the groups why social distancing is important.”

The representative for Westbourne Ward has appealed to residents to help with ideas to tackle the issue.

Speaking about the youths, he said: “I sympathise with them, they’ve been cooped up for 12 weeks with no school.

“The sun has come out and they have been told they’re low risk. We should not demonise the children, it’s understandable.

“I’m asking the community how do we allow them to get fresh air and exercise?”

Asked what his suggestion would be, he said: “I would like to see opera music played at 10pm on the lawns as a gentle way of dispersing them and ensure they don’t hang around.”

Research has suggested that classic music could reduce antisocial behaviour.

In 2011, Birmingham Police said a PA system playing Bach, Mozart and Beethoven was deterring teenagers from hanging around a shopping centre. A scheme playing classical music at 40 London Underground stations found verbal and physical abuse fell.

Restrictions to curb the spread of Covid-19 prohibit large gatherings. Individuals in England can meet one other person from outside their household if they stay two metres apart. This will increase to six on Monday.

Sussex Police said: “Our role is to prevent, investigate and detect crime and to keep people safe. The adjusted Government restrictions won’t see us police or enforce social distancing but we will continue to respond to people gathering in groups and making non-essential journeys, using the same proportionate approach that we have done throughout – explaining and encouraging them to support the important measures and, only as last resort, enforce.”

Brighton and Hove City Council was contacted for comment but did not respond by the time The Argus went to press.