Youth disorder in the Rivergate is on the rise with North Ayrshire’s top cop saying police patrols are now being increased.

Police and council chiefs say they’re working on a plan of action to prevent teens hanging around in the centre, with one councillor saying it’s ‘unacceptable’ residents should feel unsafe.

Sgt Jason Drury told community councillors: “We are experiencing a rise in youth anti-social behaviour in the town, particularly in the Rivergate. We’re trying to work with youth services at NAC to try to put things in place to prevent that.”

Irvine West SNP Cllr Shaun Macaulay said: “It is unacceptable that anyone should feel unsafe to walk the streets and clearly something needs to be done to deal with this issue. This has been raised with myself by residents, community councillors and local police officers.

“I have also contacted relevant council departments to ensure that we as a council are doing all we can to tackle this ongoing problem. I would also urge anyone with concerns to contact the police directly.

Chief Inspector Brian Shaw said: “We have become aware of large gatherings of youths at the Rivergate Shopping Centre and retail park and there have been a number of complaints of youth disorder.

“In response officers have been deployed in greater numbers to address this issue and to engage with youngsters. Over the weekend a large number of additional officers positively engaged with the majority of young people. This will continue over the coming weeks to address the issue.”

An NAC spokesperson said: “To deal with some of the reported youth unrest within Rivergate mall, staff from the Connected Communities locality team are working closely with Police Scotland colleagues, to develop a plan of action in relation to engaging with the young people, which will include joint patrols and youth work diversionary ideas.

“We are also liaising with Rivergate Mall management team and campus officers to ensure a joined up approach which focuses on youth work engagement and diversionary activities.”