Police in Romsey joined forces with Test Valley Borough Council officials and representatives from schools last week to catch persistent truants.

Those who regularly bunk off school were identified and targeted in a week-long crackdown. Each day a list of absentees was issued by the schools and visits were made to their homes, where the child and their parents or guardians were spoken to.

If no good reason for the child’s absence was given, the truant was escorted back to school. Nineteen children were identified and dealt with during the week, say police. Some were found at home while others were out roaming the streets.

Inspector Jackie Willson said: “This initiative was run due to the names of certain individuals frequently coming to the attention of the police and several partner agencies. A number were also suspected of being involved in low-level crime and causing anti-social behaviour within their neighbourhoods.”

The inspector said that follow-up visits would be made to the truants’ homes.

She added: “This truancy sweep had a very positive effect in helping to reduce truanting and supporting young people by identifying patterns and reasons for truanting. Due to this we plan to run further truancy sweeps at periodic intervals in the future.”