AN initiative launched to protect residents from anti-social behaviour and drunks congregating in a town centre has seen only five people convicted in four years.

Back in 2016, Tendring Council introduced its Public Spaces Protection Order in a bid to deter groups from loitering in a restricted area opposite and near McDonald’s in Clacton.

Officers were given enforcement powers so they could stop the use of illegal substances, issue fines, confiscate alcohol and disperse people from the town centre for 24 hours.

A report, however, has since found Tendring Council and Essex Police are still receiving a “significant” amount of calls asking them to do something to tackle street drinking.

It was also revealed just five people had been convicted under the Public Space Protection Order, a scheme which has now been extended for three more years.

Earlier this month, an elderly day tripper visiting the area to reminisce is said to have left the town centre “in tears”, after being verbally abused by drinkers.

Councillor Lynda McWilliams, chairwoman of the Tendring Community Safety Partnership, said: “Those five individuals are people who failed to follow an instruction by a police or a council officer to follow the order.

“The figure does not include those who have been positively engaged with.

“It is important to note that the Public Spaces Protection Order is only one tool in the box to deal with anti-social behaviour but it cannot be used to just move on those others may consider undesirable.

“Verbal abuse will not be tolerated by us or our partners, but the sad incident which this lady experienced is not one that can be solved by the PSPO alone.”