The anti-social behaviour that has plagued Malmesbury in recent months is being carried out by the same five or six people, police believe.
The comment was made at the first of two briefings taking place in the town today, to update people on the work being done to tackle the issue.
Representatives from Malmesbury Town Council, Wiltshire Council, Malmesbury School and Wiltshire Police all spoke at the first briefing, held inside Malmesbury Abbey this afternoon.
All committed to working together to tackle the issue of anti-social behaviour.
The problem has worsened recently, most notably with the arson attack at Malmesbury Abbey last month.
Four teenagers have now been arrested in relation to this incident. There have also been arrests in relation to a number of incidents involving the theft of quad bikes and tractors in the Garsdon area.
At the briefing it was repeatedly stated that the vast majority of young people in Malmesbury were a credit to the town.
Speaking at the briefing today Sergeant Jamie Ball said: “It’s the same group of five or six people.
“We are not looking to jeopardise their future careers and their lives.
“We want to stop them from reoffending. Arrest, arrest, arrest and criminalisation does not always work best.
“It’s about all of us doing our level best to educate these children.
“I think some of the individuals we are looking at do not get enough support at home.”
Echoing his comments, Inspector James Brain added: “If we are going down the route of arrests then we have failed as a community.”
Several of the offenders have been allocated mentors and youth workers in the hope of turning round their behaviour.
Plans are also in place to install CCTV in key locations in the town.
See this week’s paper for a full report from today’s briefing.