"Hundreds" of mini grey canisters were dumped in a park as police warned of an increase in reports of anti-social behaviour and drug crime.

Hertfordshire Constabulary says it is "stepping up" its proactive patrols following separate incidents last week around Cassiobury Park.

In one case, police were called on Wednesday, June 17, to reports of drug dealing and anti-social behaviour in Gade Avenue car park, which is next to Cassiobury Park.

Police say a small quantity of drugs and drug paraphernalia were recovered after they detained several vehicles before searching them and their occupants.

A number of people were given Section 59 warnings, meaning if they are caught using their vehicles in an anti-social manner again they will be seized by police.

The county's police force added that later on the same evening, officers had to break up a large gathering of young people in the same car park.

Meanwhile, mini grey canisters were left scattered across Gade Avenue car park on Sunday.

Pictures show the small bottles spread across the car park, which had been left overnight.

Watford Observer: Watford Observer:

A runner, who does not want to be named, said he noticed "hundreds" of the canisters on Sunday morning as he was out on his regular jog through the park.

He said: “I was just out in the morning and when I was at the park around 9am I just saw a couple of hundred of them just left on the ground.

“It is not very good at all that this has happened and I’m disappointed. The park does not deserve to be treated in this way.”

Following the incidents in and around the park last week, Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor said: “Abuse of our parks is never acceptable and there is no excuse for it. We are working close with the police to come up with a solution to tackle this as soon as possible and police are also regularly patrolling the area.

“It is disappointing that these actions are necessary but I am grateful to the vast majority of people who visit our parks and behave responsibly.”

Inspector Pete Edwards, who leads the Watford Safer Neighbourhood Team, said the team is "fully aware" of the "issues" in Cassiobury Park and nearby Gade Avenue car park.

He said: “I fully understand residents’ frustrations and why they may perceive that no action is being taken, however a huge amount of intelligence has been recorded which is vital in helping us take even more robust and appropriate action.

“We are also working closely with the park rangers and our other partners at Watford Borough Council to put a longer-term solution in place, so we will share news of this when we are able.

“In the meantime, we will continue to patrol the park and use our powers to detain, stop, search and disperse – and where necessary, arrest – anyone who is using these areas to gather, commit crime and cause problems for those living nearby.

“I cannot stress enough how important it is for residents to keep calling and reporting incidents to us. This will give us an accurate picture of the hotspot locations we need to include in our patrol plans so we can catch these people in the act.”