SHOPS in Whitchurch have been asked not to sell energy drinks to under-16s on a Friday night to try to reduce rowdy behaviour.

Police in the town fear that the drinks, which have a high sugar and caffeine content, are contributing to bad behaviour by youngsters, as they make them hyperactive.

In a report read to Whitchurch Town Council at its meeting on Monday, PC Paula Deery and PCSO Wendy Eaglestone revealed that there had been nine reports of anti-social behaviour in March.

The report said: “We have asked shops in Whitchurch not to sell Red Bull or other stimulation drinks to under-16s on a Friday evening as it increases youth hyperactivity.”

The meeting heard that an assembly was also held at Testbourne Community School, warning pupils not to cause trouble over the weekends, and letters were sent out to parents.

The youngsters were warned that if they continued to make a nuisance of themselves, they would face being made a subject of anti-social behaviour contracts.

Councillor Dave Titcomb told the meeting: “There were certainly less children out last Friday, and the police were out in quite high numbers. The headteacher at Testbourne Community School had an effect, certainly on the parents of the children.”

Cllr Jackie Day asked for police patrols to extend to Saturday nights as well. She said: “I came through Whitchurch on Saturday at 9.30pm and there were at least six to eight children sitting in the square, riding around the square on bikes making a nuisance of themselves. I think they were playing football and using the square as a football pitch.”

A spokesman for the British Soft Drinks Association said: “These drinks contain about as much caffeine as a typical cup of coffee. The British soft drinks industry believes that they are not suitable for children and has adopted a code of practice so that this is clearly stated on the label.

“We also do not promote, or market, such drinks to those under the age of 16. This is the responsible thing to do.”