A DUDLEY councillor says anti-social behaviour by yobs in Netherton is a huge problem which is driving people out of their homes.

Police were called to Chester Road last Wednesday evening after a woman called 999 to report teenagers carrying crow bars and pickaxes.

She said a "big massive gang" of youngsters, who she guessed were aged between 13 and 15, were walking along carrying the weapons and "looking for trouble".

Officers searched the area but a West Midlands Police spokesman said they “did not find any weapons or kids in possession of weapons”.

But one Darby End resident, who did not wish to be named, said that was not the first time a gang had evaded police.

Six weeks ago, she said she saw "eight lads sitting on a wall with crow bars and pickaxes" and within minutes saw "another three come up with hammers".

She said: "I rang 101 and asked them to send a police car as they had all got offensive weapons."

But while the call handler was taking her details, the gang left.

"I said they were going and asked for them to send a car quickly as they were up to no good but they started asking what they were wearing," she added.

Frustrated that the cops had missed their chance to nab the youngsters red handed, she hung up and said she hadn't heard anything from the police since.

"Years ago the local police used to be around all the time but now it's terrible.

"The police know who they are but they just don't seem to want to know, I don't know if it's because of costs."

Youngsters have vandalised cars and are often verbally abusive to passers-by according to the resident, who said she knew of one person moving away from the area because of it.

"People are worried about their property and are frightened to say anything to them," she said.

Dudley Wood councillor Jackie Cowell said reports of youths carrying weapons were "extremely unnerving".

"We've had issues, not just with youths but adults as well, causing problems in the area by speeding and taking drugs.

"One of the issues we have is that there isn't enough police coverage but that is not the fault of the local police.

"This is a huge problem and they are driving people out of their homes and making people feel uncomfortable about taking their children to and from school."

Netherton councillor Qadar Zada advised anyone who sees youngsters carrying weapons to call the police immediately.

He continued: "Netherton is a very united community and we don't welcome this type of behaviour.

"People in Netherton aren't going to be intimidated by children."

West Midlands Police said that anti-social behaviour in and around Orchard Road in Netherton was "currently a priority for the Quarry Bank and Dudley Wood neighbourhood policing team" and the area is "a priority patrol area for local officers".

Anyone with concerns or information about anti-social behaviour in the area is urged to contact Sgt Liz Benson and her team on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.