A CONTROVERSIAL sonic device installed at a railway station to disperse loitering teenagers will only be used as a “last resort”.

The device, which is often referred to as a “mosquito” and emits a high-frequency sound  audible only to the under-25s, has been introduced at Hamilton Central in a bid to quell rising disorder from groups of young people accused of targeting staff.

Christina McKelvie, SNP MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse, said after a meeting with ScotRail staff: “I impressed upon them my strong discouragement of the device, including citing the Council of Europe report which charts the disproportionate impact these devices have on young people.  “While the rights of the child must be protected and maintained, I empathise and indeed support the rights of ScotRail to have a duty of care to their staff.  I have received assurances that this device is a last resort measure and is only being used when there is an immediate danger to members of the public and staff at Hamilton Central.”

Staff have previously raised concerns about anti-social behaviour at the station and demonstrated outside it last month over claims that their safety was being put at risk when trying to disperse gangs.

Ms McKelvie said the meeting was part of a programme over the summer agreed at a recent parliamentary summit on the problems at Hamilton Central.

Scottish Greens transport and justice spokesman John Finnie said the device was an inappropriate response to problems caused by a minority of young people.