Police have issued a warning after receiving several reports of criminal damage and anti-social behaviour in Hemel Hempstead.
In recent days, the teams have dealt with several incidents of young people banging on or kicking down strangers’ doors in what are thought to be pranks.
In one incident an elderly person’s front door was damaged, leaving them frightened and having to foot the bill for repairs.
In another, a door was kicked open and left insecure when the resident was out, leaving the property vulnerable to burglary.
PCSO Sarah Rex, from the Dacorum Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “It’s really disappointing to think that there are some young people in Hemel Hempstead that are taking part in this irresponsible behaviour.
“We want our young people to enjoy their half term break, but their actions should not be at the expense of innocent members of the public.
“We are working with local secondary schools to share this message but given that it is currently half term, I would urge parents and carers to have a direct conversation with their children and make them consider the victims of their behaviour.
“Please ask them how they would feel if it was their Nan or Grandad who had been targeted. It’s not just a bit of fun – it is frightening, anti-social and, in some cases, illegal. We will be investigating each report and looking to identify those involved before taking appropriate action.
“We need to draw a line under it right now, and as part of our plan to tackle this issue we will be increasing our neighbourhood patrols in the affected areas.
“We are aware that there may be some further incidents that have not been reported to us, so we would urge anyone who believes they are a victim of this trend to come forward as soon as possible.”