A number of the alleged perpetrators of high street vandalism have been confronted about their actions, Councillor Phil North has said.

The leader of Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC) said that 12 young people had been identified in connection with the incidents using the body cameras of the Andover BID Rangers. He added that they had then been confronted by police officers alongside their parents.

He said: “Although this is also a matter for the landlord, officers from TVBC met the town centre rangers and the police two weeks ago to discuss options to help tackle these issues. The rangers have subsequently provided photos of those involved from their body-worn CCTV.

“To date, we have managed to identify 12 young people through partners and local schools. As a result, Test Valley community safety officers and police colleagues have visited those identified this week - with their parents present. The majority of which have been upset to have been confronted with evidence about their actions.

“They have also been made aware of the possible consequences if they continue with these behaviours. I hope this will, therefore, have the desired effect in reducing the recent issues but we will continue to monitor the situation.

“Alongside the police and the fire service we are also hoping to speak to school assemblies to warn of the dangers and risk of these reckless actions. My thanks to Hampshire Constabulary for being so proactive on these matters.”

The intervention by officers follows the Advertiser’s report in which Andover Clothing Exchange founder Tania Hall said that vandalism of her unit was “becoming more and more of a problem”, with fears that a fire could be lit in the building following a bin being damaged by fire to the rear of the former Dorothy Perkins store.

She claims she has been subjected to abuse and had floors rendered unusable following vandalism by young people climbing on the roofs of high street buildings.

The community have rallied around to support her, with donations for anti-climb paint and steps being taken by M&S, whose empty building adjoins the clothing exchange, to secure their building.

Councillor Stu Waue, who was involved with the campaign to resolve the ongoing issues, subsequently wrote to secondary schools in the area to ask them to discuss the issues with their students, with Russell Stevens, the headteacher of John Hanson Community School, saying that his school wanted anyone with information to come forward if pupils from his school were involved.

While the latest step may help to ease the vandalism issues on the high street, the youth MP for Andover has said that more action needs to be taken to address the root causes of the incidents.

Dmitrijs Meiksans said: “Whilst it is important that the young people who have done this are held accountable for their actions, it is equally as important, if not more important, to get down to the root of the problem, and we have to ask ourselves why; why are these young people going out of their way to do such terrible things?

“And the main reason that my mind keeps going back to is that those young people could not have something that they can do after school, or they just cannot afford to do something after school.

“Now, of course, I am not saying that the young people's actions are in any way justified, because they are not, however, telling them off a couple of times by the police with their parents doing the exact same straight after, would not do the trick.

“More force would not do the trick, if anything, it could ignite a fire in the young people to just keep on doing it. It's the idea of reform and not more force - allowing spaces for young people after school to do something like a sport or a space to do their homework, a space, in some cases, that would not be easily available within their own home.”

He concluded: “I urge you all to keep in mind that the majority of young people continue to behave by the laws, continue being kind to the community and continue to make a positive impact in their communities - rather than the vice versa of each.”