SHOPKEEPERS in Southampton have been clearing up after three nights of vandalism which has resulted in damage running into thousands of pounds.

Windows have been smashed, paving pulled up, shop staff intimidated and telephone boxes destroyed as yobs caused havoc in the Thornhill area of the city.

Police, who blame the trouble on tensions between youths in Thornhill and Sholing, are to double the number of beat officers in the area.

Embattled shop owners in Hinkler Parade have had enough and levelled criticism at the police for not doing enough to stop the damage.

The latest development comes after the Daily Echo revealed on Monday that the cost of the damage to council property from vandalism stood at more than £11m.

Shop owner Margaret Chappell, 48, who has been running her Fancy Pants shop for little more than a year, said: "It's getting beyond a joke.

"We thought we were safe with the shutters on the front - but they got over them.

"This has been building up for a while. There was about 30 of them out there.

"It's going to put my insurance up again. If I had my way I'd close and go."

On Sunday night Esgro supermarket was targeted, on Monday it was the bookmakers and on Tuesday the Fancy Pants store was attacked.

In Esgro 45 incidents of violence or verbal abuse have been logged in the last month - more than one a day. Staff there reported

youths throwing themselves against the window shutters in an attempt to smash windows.

Store director Peter Holloway believes it's time more antisocial behaviour orders were dished out.

"It's an ongoing situation. There is a hard core of half a dozen to be dealt with.

"My staff are not prepared to put up with it. They have already broken the lock a the back."

Hairdressing shop owner Brenda Lambert said: "I'm not prepared to come to work while it's like this.

"The police don't seem to want to do anything for us."