A SOCIAL media post about young schoolboys 'deliberately harassing' an elderly woman in Abingdon has sparked a call to tackle anti-social behaviour in the town.

Donna Dixey writing on Facebook group Abingdon on Thursday said: "I witnessed something dreadful today in Abingdon precinct.

"A group of young lads in John Mason uniforms were deliberately harassing a very elderly lady by circling round her on bikes and generally abusing her.

"A man stepped in and politely asked them to leave her alone and got a mouthful for his trouble."

She said she had videoed the Bury Street incident and would be reporting it to police as well as speaking with the school.

Ms Dixey added it had left her 'really angry and upset', explaining: "The old lady was clearly vulnerable, walking with a stick and seemed very confused.

"What is wrong with some of these kids today? No respect for anyone or anything it seems.

"The lady was very shaken and told me she was born in Abingdon and refused my offer of a lift home because in her words, she 'wasn’t going to be scared to walk the streets of the town she’s lived in all her life'."

In an update on the post, which has been reacted to more than a thousand times and shared by almost 300 people, Ms Dixey added: "I have just had a very positive meeting with the headteacher of John Mason who are taking this very seriously and have already this morning had meetings with two of the parents of the boys involved.

"I myself have had communication with two of the mother’s who were mortified and have assured both the school and myself that the boys will be punished at home too.

"One boy has messaged me to apologise for his behaviour. Let’s hope the boys who were actually only 11 will see the error of their ways. I also hope that people will look out for that vulnerable old lady who is known to many around the town."

John Mason headteacher Sarah Brinkley confirmed she met with Ms Dixey on Friday morning, saying: “We take our place in the community very seriously as do our young people.

"Three boys in their first week at John Mason have taken the wrong path, their parents have been incredibly supportive and we will work with them to educate them that this sort of behaviour is unacceptable and encourage them to make better choices in the future.”

A Thames Valley Police spokeswoman said they received a report of anti-social behaviour at around 5.30pm on Thursday in Bury Street, Abingdon.

She added: "This has been referred to the Neighbourhood team and officers are in contact with the victim."

There was a defence of the boys on social media with several people saying the woman was regularly verbally abusive towards young people in the town.

Penny Taylor said in response to one such message: "I think this incident has highlighted wider issues about behaviour around the town, and the community working together to make Abingdon a safer, nicer place to live and enjoy."

Paul Townsend, who was the man mentioned in Ms Dixey's account, said he had written to Vale of White Horse District Council and the operators of Bury Street precinct to call for change.

In the email, which was published in full online, he said he had been walking out of Poundland at around 4.15pm on Thursday when he noticed a "disturbance involving a group of young, mostly boys on bikes and an elderly lady whom I suspect is vulnerable".

He said he waited and escorted the woman along Bury Street when she left Poundland towards the town hall with a group of children also following them on bikes.

Mr Townsend added: "I don't think these are bad kids, they didn't realise how their actions were affecting others and in particular this lady. I'm sure they realise now.

"I'm hoping the relevant authorities can consider some sensible steps forward as a result of this."

He suggested 'no cycling' signs be added to Bury Street, with shop staff educated how to identify vulnerable people or instances of anti-social behaviour.