Retailers across the country have joined forces with local police and trading standards to limit anti-social behaviour during the notorious Halloween and fireworks period.

Youth crime and disruption soar during the "spooky season", which this year coincides with school half-term.

Many stores have banned teenagers from buying flour and eggs, traditionally used as "trick or treat" missiles. Independent retailer Manoj Patel of Manny's in Long Ditton, Surrey, said he had been working closely with the police to limit anti-social behaviour in his area.

"The police supplied me with a window poster explaining that products such as eggs, flour and toilet roll would not be sold to unaccompanied teenagers, and I have been very strict about enforcing this," he said.

"Community retailers have a responsibility to help reduce antisocial behaviour in the areas in which they operate. Refusing a sale because you do not trust that the person will be responsible with a purchase is difficult and can be intimidating, but it is in our interest to do all we can to ensure our neighbourhoods are safe and clean," he added.

Stores have also been working hard to stop the supply of fireworks to teenagers by signing up to 'Good Guy' schemes, which include stringent sales and storage policies.

Independent retailer Rizwan Raza of Cirkle 7 stores in Borehamwood has signed up to a scheme run by Hertfordshire Trading Standards, which meant he did not sell fireworks until October 22 a week later than the legal selling period. He is also enforcing a rigorous Challenge 21 policy for fireworks sales.

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