GANGS of youths holding drunken weekend and night-time beach parties are scaring people away from popular Repulse Bay, according to police and residents. They claim the problem is being made worse by shops in the area freely selling alcohol to under-age drinkers. One expatriate youngster, who was drinking from a miniature bottle of whisky while surrounded by 20 of his friends on Friday night, boasted he had drunk a litre of the spirit the weekend before. Most of the boys who gathered on Beach Road before heading down to the sand to 'drink and party' were between 14 and 16 years old. Residents, along with staff at beach-side bars and shops, are calling for increased police patrols. A resident of the plush Repulse Bay Apartments, who asked not be named, said she had stopped taking her two young children to the beach at nights. 'It's getting worse. If you take a look along Beach Road on any Friday and Saturday night you'll see big gangs of them, hanging around and drinking beer,' she said. 'People here are fed up with it. The police should be doing more to stop this. I only take my children on the beach during the day.' Workers at the Urban Council Beach Office said gangs of youngsters had been spotted partying into the early hours of the morning. 'I haven't seen them myself because we close in the early evening but I've heard it can get a bit scary down here at night,' said one worker. One resident at The Repulse Bay complex said: 'These kids have nothing else to do. Repulse Bay is a lovely place to stay if you have a family or are just visiting for the day, but there's not a lot for young children to do in the evening.' Parents in the area have been warned of the problems and have been asked to check where their children are at night and to look for signs that the youngsters have been on drinking binges. David James, head teacher at Island School, printed a warning in the school's Parents and Teachers' Association newsletter last month about the 'temptations open to pupils' at Repulse Bay. A teacher at the school said the beach was 'becoming a haunt for alcohol abuse' and urged parents to make regular checks on their children at weekends. 'Repulse Bay is attractive to children because it is easy for them to buy alcohol. It is not our responsibility what the children do after school but we like to work with the parents in trying to ensure the children are responsible at all times, not just during school hours,' the teacher said. When asked if children were able to buy alcohol freely over the counter from 7-Eleven, a member of staff at the Beach Road store said: 'That is rubbish, I don't know what you're talking about. We always ask for their ID cards and if they don't have one or won't show us, then we refuse to sell them alcohol. That is company policy.' John Carter, assistant divisional commander (Operations) of Aberdeen police station, said although police made regular visits to Repulse Bay and responded to specific complaints, it was 'extremely difficult' to prevent children from gathering there. Mr Carter said officers would continue to monitor the situation but the problem could only be contained if harsher laws on shop owners who sell alcohol to youngsters under 18 were introduced. Plans to introduce tougher penalties are being considered. A draft report from the urban and regional councils will be submitted to the Legislative Council within the next two months. It will call for penalties to be raised from a maximum $5,000 fine and six months' imprisonment to $40,000 and 12 months' imprisonment.