An action plan has been created to tackle a rise in crime in Malmesbury, with hopes more CCTV and improved lighting will combat the actions of troublemakers in the town.

Police are working with the town council, Wiltshire Council and other agencies to put proactive plans into place to tackle a rise in anti-social behaviour over recent months.

On Tuesday night, police and fire services were called to a suspected arson attack on a derelict barn on Foxley Road and on Tuesday, October 20, a number of cars were vandalised overnight in Station Road Car Park.

READ MORE: Suspected arson attack on derelict barn in Malmesbury

In response to the incidents, officers and police community support officers are carrying out extra patrols, have issued community protections warnings to three teenagers and are working with local councillors, youth teams and local businesses to ensure a joined-up approach to crime prevention.

Inspector Doug Downing, from the Royal Wootton Bassett Community Policing Team, which covers Malmesbury, said he wanted to reassure the local community that action was being taken.

He said: "A steady rise in anti-social behaviour is something we are witnessing across Wiltshire and Swindon and, I believe, is echoed by the national picture as well.

"So firstly, I want to reassure people that Malmesbury isn’t alone in this issue.

"Also, although this type of activity – which includes criminal damage, vehicle damage, shoplifting and disorder – has a big impact on people living in the town, we believe it is caused by a small minority of people and we have been working hard to actively engage with the offenders.

"We feel confident that this targeted work should make a difference and help reduce and prevent crime."

On Monday, Inspector Downing chaired a extraordinary meeting which included colleagues from neighbourhood policing, crime prevention and youth engagement, together with representatives from the town council, Wiltshire Council and local schools to discuss the ongoing issues and come up with an action plan.

This included:

• The opportunity to install more CCTV cameras and security lighting in areas which have been highlighted as ASB hotspots.

• Ensuring more indoor facilities are available for young people during the winter months.

• Targeted police patrols in the areas where people are known to congregate.

• The possibility of Wiltshire Police supporting the local authority to “design out crime” in public places, carrying out an assessment in the town to see if small changes such as cutting back hedges or improving lighting, could help reduce crime.

• Working with the families of young people believed to be involved in anti-social behaviour to ensure the appropriate support is put in place.

Sergeant Kate Smith said investigations were currently ongoing with a number of specific offences linked to the spate of ASB, and that community protection warnings had been issued to three teenage boys.

She said: "I want to reassure the people of Malmesbury that you have a committed and dedicated neighbourhood team, made up of police officers and PCSOs, who are currently prioritising this issue and doing everything they can to tackle these problems.

"This work is supported by the wider area community policing team, with our response police officers available 24/7 to both respond to 999 and 101 calls, as well as actively patrolling the town."

Malmesbury's Wiltshire Councillor and Town Councillor Gavin Grant, who worked with Inspector Downing to dra‎w the meeting together, said: "There is no place in Malmesbury for the recent acts of vandalism and violence. These are the unacceptable actions of a tiny minority and it must stop.

"I am delighted that we now have the police, Malmesbury Town Council and Wiltshire Council all working closely alongside our schools, community organisations and businesses to tackle this problem.

"Malmesbury is a great place to live, work and visit. We need to keep it that way.

"By being joined up and take the right actions we will prevent a very small minority from ruining it for everyone.

"All of us working constructively together will do that I'm sure."