Laois-Offaly Gardaí have urged parents to take responsibility for their teenage children in the run up to Halloween if they want to prevent anti-social behaviour and avoid embarrassing arrests.
In a statement, the division's Garda Crime Prevention Officer Graham Kavanagh said gardaí receive reports each Autumn involving youths lighting fires on green areas at night. The gardaí also get reports of stones being thrown resulting in property being damaged.
The gardaí say the anti-social behaviour is carried out by young males who live, predominantly, in the areas that suffer the problems. All are under 17 years of age.
"They are eventually arrested for public order offences and their parents are shocked and indignant that their son or daughter was arrested and will tell you they did nothing wrong," said Garda Kavanagh.
"I would ask them to be responsible take control of their kids and take some pride in their town and estate. They generally are the type also that complain about nothing to do and vent on social media about everything and anything," he said.
The Crime Prevention Officer said Portlaoise, Tullamore, Edenderry, Birr and other towns have a wealth of opportunities for young people to engage in some socially responsible pastime instead of "creating stress and disharmony in their areas".
He added that the public to report any incidents of anti-social behaviour as he said Gardaí take the issue seriously. Garda Kavanagh said the police are engaging with Laois and Offaly county councils to tackle the problem and will be on the ground to deal with issues that arise.