New figures for areas of Northumberland show that the number of incidents increased by more 50 per cent between April and May and is also four times higher than it was a year ago.
Northumbria Police have again put a “significant proportion” of the cases down to suspected breaches of emergency Covid-19 legislation introduced following the March 23 coronavirus lockdown.
These include unlawful gatherings such as house parties or gangs congregating outdoors.
They also insist they are taking a “proactive approach in tackling pockets of disorder”.
The Home Office figures show there were 551 anti-social behaviour complaints in May across Northumbria’s Anwick (224 incidents), Berwick (171) and Morpeth (156) neighbourhoods.
This compares to 369 cases (138, 104 and 127 respectively) during April – the first full month after lockdown – and 137 cases (61, 48 and 28 incidents respectively) in May 2019.
The latest figures also jointly account for more than half of the 949 total crimes reported in the three neighbourhoods during May.
While many of the leading locations are near the coast, the issue of second home owners is not thought to be a significant factor.
A Northumbria force spokesman said: “A significant proportion of these incidents of anti-social behaviour refer to suspected breaches of Covid-19 regulations which have been reported to us by members of the public.
“Our policy since the outset has been to engage with members of the public, explain the restrictions and encourage people to follow them.
“However, we have always stated that where necessary we would make use of legislation available to enforce the regulations in order to protect our communities.
“We would continue to ask everyone to follow the modified regulations. Personal responsibility is now key.
“We all have a responsibility to respect our communities and our fellow citizens, and we must not undermine everything we have sacrificed during lockdown.”
Complaints may well fall when statistics for June, when lockdown restrictions began to ease, are released.
May’s totals are also far lower than further south in South Tyneside (954 reports) and Sunderland (1,089).