A new project in Oxford aims to tackle the scourge of teenage antisocial behaviour - by getting them hooked on fishing.

Experts think the therapeutic nature of one of Britain's most popular and calming hobbies can reach out to youths who might get into trouble in the summer holidays.

The scheme - which has police backing - has been jointly funded by Oxford City Council and the Environment Agency who have met the cost of employing a full-time angler at £25,000 a year.

Lifelong angler Ian Horrocks said fishing was the perfect pursuit to bring potentially troublesome teenagers into line.

The 55-year-old former boss of Thame Tackle will be responsible for taking hundreds of children away from city estates and on to the riverbanks in fully supervised sessions throughout the year.

He said: "It is the complete package - the relaxation, becoming aware of the environment and getting them away from areas where they might get into trouble.

"It gives them a focus and gets them into a sport they might not otherwise have had access to."

Mr Horrocks has already staged two events with teenagers from the Gap homeless charity and youths from the Donnington area.

Now, youth workers across the city will be responsible for offering this activity to children aged between 10 and 19.

Mr Horrocks said: "I have been speaking to youth leaders around Oxford and we have already got four sessions booked up over the summer in Blackbird Leys and we hope to get things up and running across the city.

"I have fished all my life and now I have the chance to pass on some of my skills, knowledge and enthusiasm to others. Initially we are aiming to reach out to 10 to 19-year-olds. We hope that once they get their feet wet and realise just how much fun fishing can be, they might then be inclined to form small clubs of their own."

Rose Hill youth worker Maggie O'Sullivan said the post had been created as a result of the success of a youth angling club set up in 2002.

She said: "Apart from football, it is the most popular sport and the young people in Rose Hill and across the city love going fishing.

"It's a very positive experience that can be done alone and allow young people to contemplate and focus on themselves."

Thames Valley Police schools officer PC Brent Jackson said: "The angling project is great because it not only keeps them busy but they will get to learn a new skill and see a side of life on the riverbank many of them would not get the chance to experience."

The scheme has been helped by a £2,500 donation of tackle from manufacturers Drennan. A drop-in session for all teenagers is planned for Hinksey Lake on August 13. For more information call Mr Horrocks on 01865 467332.