Ecstasy (Reuters)

A mother from Middlesbrough gave her 13-year-old daughter ecstasy for her birthday, the town's mayor has revealed.

Ray Mallon said the teenager received three ecstasy tablets as a present in a case of "disgraceful parenting" which left him in "despair".

No further details about the family or their location have yet been revealed.

Mallon, a former detective reportedly known as Robocop during his time in the police, said this was just one example of the widespread problem of drugs and social deprivation in the area.

Mallon said that 16 of the borough's 23 wards were socially deprived, with one troubled family costing agencies £600,000 every year.

He said that for every 16 children taken into care, the council pays £1.2m.

'Target children when they're in the womb'

"Social deprivation is one of the biggest challenges facing the town at the present time," he said.

"Dealing with social deprivation is the pre-requisite to the economic and social sustainability of the town. Social deprivation is costing the town millions of pounds.

"One family costs £600,000 a year due to numerous interventions by the council and our partner agencies."

Last year, Mallon announced a plan to tackle the borough's 500 worst problem families.

He said a crackdown on the worst families in Middlesbrough, who he called a "hard-core nucleus", would stop some of the town's biggest problems.

Speaking to the BBC, he said: "We should target children whilst they're in the womb because it's clear that you can work out by the parents which kids are likely to have problems."

Despite Mallon's plans to improve social deprivation, Middlesbrough is still one of the worst areas in the UK for child poverty, with 40 percent living below the breadline in 2011, up two percent on the year before.