POLICE in York have issued a direct appeal to parents to keep track of their children following an evening of anti-social behaviour.

In an unusual step, officers have posted a message on the York North Police Facebook page, asking "Were your early teenage children in Strensall this evening? Were you aware of their plans?"

It was triggered by a series of incidents on Saturday evening when police resources were stretched more than usual due to the large numbers of people attending York Race's John Smith's Cup during the day and then heading into York for the night.

Officers then urged "those with parental responsibility to take that responsibility seriously".

The Facebook post has attracted more than 150 comments, with most people supporting the police stance and thanking them for their efforts.

One comment read: "Thanks for your support #thinblueline".

Another read: "It's as simple as this, Kids, you need to stop the anti social behaviour because, quite frankly, the police need to be elsewhere to deal with the anti social behaviour from the Grown Ups. What a time to be alive."

The York North Police post stated: "Tonight we have attended numerous incidents of anti-social behaviour in Strensall involving approximately 30 children (most from elsewhere in York) intent on giving us the run around on a busy race night, only to be met with an adult in the village claiming responsibility for a proportion of the visiting group who said “ITS SATURDAY NIGHT, THEY CAN DO WHAT THEY WANT”.

"They cannot do what they want. It is not acceptable for young children to freely rake around all evening and night in a large group, unsupervised, collectively or individually causing anti-social behaviour.

"That is why the police are given powers under Section 30 Anti-social Behaviour Act to disperse or remove persons under 16 to their place of residence.

"Having done so to the main ring-leaders, we are then met elsewhere in York with a receiving parent who is then aggressive, questioning why they have been brought home in a marked police van.

"Meanwhile, back in Strensall, a resulting and more serious incident ensued requiring a deployment of significant further resources. Thankfully, this was brought to swift and successful conclusion due to the professionalism of the officers involved.

"Anti-social behaviour is not purely a problem for the police and partner agencies to solve. It requires those with parental responsibility to take that responsibility seriously.

"Some of the adults involved tonight (either directly or indirectly) need to reflect on this message. It entirely possibly they too may be on the receiving end of anti-social behaviour in the future and would wish for the same standard to be applied.

"It goes without saying our resources could have been utilised elsewhere tonight. Thankfully, no one was hurt in Strensall; but it is in all our interests to ensure that remains the case!"