A HIGH-PITCHED alarm that can be heard by young ears only is deterring large groups of youths from hanging around the entrance to a Barry shop.

Robert Gough, owner of Spar on Barry Road, installed the'Mosquito' on the front of his store about a month ago.

The contraption emits a high-pitched tone that is completely harmless to ears, but extremely irritating to people under the age of around 25 who are stood close to it a for a long period of time.

Since the Mosquito went up, Robert, aged 34, claims he has witnessed a significant reduction in the amount of shoplifting and verbal abuse to both staff and other customers.

The dad-of-two said: "Children have been begging and pleading with me to turn it off because they reckon it's'doing their heads in'.

"But I won't turn it off, because since we've had it up, myself and the staff have noticed there has been a decrease in the amount of youngsters hanging outside the shop.

"There used to be a lot of shoplifting, staff being abused and elderly people being terrified to come in."

Robert, an active member of PACT (Preventing Anti-Social Crime Together), plans to recommend the Mosquito to other retailers in the next meeting of the crime prevention group.

Robert is the first shopkeeper to pilot the Mosquito, which was created by Merthyr Tydfil inventor Howard Stapleton.

Mr Stapleton explained how his idea grew from talking to the owner of a local grocery store, who, like Robert, was having problems with youngsters congregating outside his shop at night and causing problems.

He said: "I tested it out on my kids, who are aged six to 16, and they couldn't stand it.

"Typical comments I received from other children were'it does my head in' and'what's that noise going through me?'"

The Mosquito is unlikely to affect anyone over the age of 25, as the majority will have lost the ability to hear at such a high frequency range.

And Mr Howard emphasised that genuine teenage customers will not be affected by the sound, because they will not be standing by the entrance over a long period of time.