SECURITY guards will continue to patrol an historic site in a bid to cut down on anti-social behaviour.

Colchester Council announced the scheme for St Botolph’s Priory in June this year in a bid to deter boozing and anti-social and intimidating behaviour in the area.

The authority also launched a consultation asking residents and businesses about how the priory could be better used.

Results have suggested people are in favour of the increased security so council bosses have made the decision to keep them on throughout October.

The initiative will be funded by the Better Colchester campaign - a £2 million cashpot ringfenced by the council in order to make improvements in the borough.

Mike Lilley (Lab), Colchester Council’s councillor responsible for public safety, said the security is making a real difference.

He said: “We have taken early action to listen to what people have told us and I am happy that we can continue the security presence throughout October.

“St Botolph’s Priory is an amazing asset to our town and it should be enjoyed fully, by everyone.

“We are going to work with partners and businesses to seek to continue this provision in the future.”

The street drinkers have not, however, moved from the area entirely. They are still using the nearby St Botolph’s roundabout to meet.

Residents will also be able to have their say about the area at the upcoming St Botolph’s Open Day and Market on Saturday, after which the full results will be shared. The area had been identified as a hotspot for trouble by police with street drinking often leading to loud confrontations and public urination.

It is the subject of a Public Space Protection Order giving police and council wardens increased powers to move people on should they breach certain regulations.

The Grade I listed priory, one of the first Augustinian priories in England, attracts thousands of visitors from across the UK and further afield each year.

Today, only the ruins of the 12th century building remain but there are a number of interpretation panels at the site for visitors to the view.

The area is considered to be a crucial gateway to the town centre for visitors using the nearby Britannia car park and sits just yards from the recently restored St Botolph’s Church.