SECURITY guards are being introduced to an historic site to tackle anti-social behaviour.

Colchester Council is working with English Heritage to address concerns about St Botolph's Priory and the surrounding area.

Issues have been raised about whether people feel safe and more permanent security will be on site from Monday.

The area is a known hotspot for people boozing which often leads to thing such as shouting and urinating.

Colchester Council's public safety boss Mike Lilley (Lab) said the move would help improve the town centre.

“St Botolph’s Priory is one of the town’s most important heritage sites, and a gateway into the town from Britannia Car Park for visitors, shoppers and businesses," he said.

"This move shows that we are serious about curbing anti-social behaviour, which can have a tremendously detrimental effect on the quality of life of residents and visitors to the town.

“Together with the police and other partners, we want to create a Better Colchester that promises a safer and crime-free town centre that people can enjoy.”

Portfolio holder for culture Julie Young (Lab) added: “The priory is a key heritage attraction for Colchester and attracts thousands of visitors from across the world each year.

"This is part of our ongoing commitment to better use the Priory and surrounding open space for community events as well as lighting up the priory at night.”

Sgt Martin Willsher, of the Colchester Town Proactive Team, said: “We have received reports of people drinking alcohol and acting in an anti-social manner at the priory.

“This is not only concerning for visitors and residents, but also shows a lack of respect for the burial site.

“We have been enforcing the public spaces protection order which is in place and issuing community protection warnings and community protection notices where appropriate.

“We will continue to take robust against anyone who is found to commit criminal offences or persistent anti-social behaviour.”