Andover Police will be empowered to break up any groups found in the town centre from this evening until the early hours.

Posting on Twitter, officers said that “Section 35 dispersal powers will be in place in Andover town centre… from 6pm tonight until 2am on Thursday.”

The exclusion zone is the area lying in between Western Avenue from the top of the gyratory to the roundabout near the Southampton Arms, West Street and Chantry Street and Eastern Avenue.  

Section 35 powers are given when an offer has “reasonable grounds” to suspect that using them will remove or reduce the likelihood of “members of the public in the locality being harassed, alarmed or distressed, or the occurrence in the locality of crime or disorder.”

Police can then order anyone who they suspect is involved in these activities to leave the area, or part of it, or to not return, within the period over which these powers apply. They may also confiscate any item that they suspect may be used to harass, alarm or distress.

Failing to then leave the area can result in a prison sentence of up to three months or a fine of up to £2,500.

Andover Police also said that they will “deal with breaches of Covid-19 restrictions.”