A TOILET plagued by anti-social behaviour could be fitted with a controversial 'mosquito' device to drive troublesome teens away.

Police want to install the gadget, marketed as a yob deterrent, outside the convenience in Woodbine Place, Wanstead, after residents complained that a recent make-over had failed to stop young people congregating around it.

Mosquito devices are fast becoming the latest weapon in tackling anti-social behaviour among young people.

They emit an uncomfortable high-pitched sound that can only be heard by under 25s, but the gadgets have been met with criticism following suggestions they infringe human rights.

PC Lisa Hudson from the Snaresbrook Safer Neighbourhood Team told a meeting of Redbridge Council's area one committee: "This particular area has caused us quite a few problems recently. There is quite a lot a drug use and a bench just outside the toilet has become a prime meeting place for local school children who are intimidating people."

PC Hudson admitted the youths were not breaking the law by congregating at the bench, but asked the committee to consider funding the appliance, which would cost more than £500, to put residents' minds at rest.

Cllr Thomas Chan, however, raised concerns over the issue of human rights.

He said: "I am slightly hesitant about using anything that could inflict on human rights. I heard about a solicitor who was representing youths as they believe the equipment does just this."

Debora Selner, of Christchurch Green neighbourhood watch, has been campaigning for the toilet to be made safer.

She said: "There has always been a problem with that area and at Christmas it was horrendous.

"Anything that helps reduce drug taking and excessive drinking is good, but I'm not totally sure about this one.

"If it works then it will be worth it but it's right by a bus stop and sometimes people have to wait for half an hour, so if you've got that ringing in your ear it won't be very nice."

PC Hudson said the mosquito was already used by the Metropolitan Police, and a study undertaken by the company making the device concluded it did not contravene teenagers' rights.

She added: "It is not painful and it doesn't make people run away. It's just annoying for teenagers and young adults. It doesn't break any laws and it doesn't cause any damage.

"It also cannot be heard by animals or children."

Cllr Sue Nolan said the mosquito could be good for the area and that she would talk to council officers about trying to arrange a free trial with the company that makes them.