LONDON - It is a crime-fighting tactic that's not to be sniffed at. An English council says it stopped teenagers congregating in woodland by spraying the area with pig manure.

Middlesbrough Council, in northeastern England, said Wednesday it had spread the dung over a stretch of land in Coulby Newham after residents complained of gangs of young people gathering to drink and take drugs.

Officials said they adopted the unusual tactic after a search uncovered drug-related paraphernalia hidden in the woodland.

The policy has led to a sharp decline in crime in the area.

In a statement, the council said that residents were untroubled by "a slight whiff ... they would much rather have a pong than a bong."