THE operators of a children’s residential unit say they are determined to address concerns over anti-social behaviour by young people.

The unit at The Bungalows in Blairvadach, run by West Dunbartonshire Council, has been linked to disruptive behaviour by groups of young people in Helensburgh in recent weeks.

Incidents of anti-social behaviour by young yobs at Helensburgh Central railway station on July 1, and in Colquhoun Square on July 9, have been reported in the last two issues of the Advertiser.

In response to the July 1 incident, local MSP Jackie Baillie noted that the Blairvadach unit had been linked to previous outbreaks of youth disorder in the town.

The Advertiser understands that both the Helensburgh Central and Colquhoun Square incidents earlier this month involved young people placed at the facility in Shandon.

A spokesperson for West Dunbartonshire Council said this week: “West Dunbartonshire Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) is working with authorities to help keep young people engaged in positive behaviour when socialising away from the home.

“We have been working alongside partner agencies who share our corporate parenting responsibilities for our looked after and accommodated young people.

“We have also had regular meetings with British Transport Police, Police Scotland and Argyll and Bute Council to look at how we can work in partnership to address these concerns.

“West Dunbartonshire HSCP is fully committed to providing good outcomes for our looked after children by offering help and support to those who display challenging or anti-social behaviour.”

The July 1 railway station incident saw trains to and from Helensburgh disrupted for several hours after a shaken ScotRail worker was forced to stand down from his duties despatching trains after a lit cigarette was flicked at him.

Further reports of youth disorder in the vicinity of the station were reported to police the following night.

And on Sunday, July 9, four teenagers were charged with alleged theft, vandalism, assault and resisting arrest after a disturbance in Colquhoun Square.

Inspector Ewan Wilson from Helensburgh police office said: “We’ve seen a reduction in incidents over the last few nights so I think the increased police presence is having an effect.

“However I’m not naive enough to think we’ve fixed the problem and our daily foot patrols are ongoing.”

The Care Inspectorate recently judged the quality of care, support, management and leadership at the service to be ‘good’ - though their report was less positive than at an October 2016 inspection when all aspects of the service were rated ‘very good’.

However, the report noted that the service had experienced “an unsettled period over an extended number of months” before the inspection and stated: “The behavioural presentation of some young people had impacted upon the lives of other young people and similarly on the staff team.

“A number of young people had been moved on to other placements as a result of these difficulties.

“We also found that during this time, the absence of key staff had contributed to the unsettled nature of provision for young people and support for staff.”