Sunderland police closing in on under-age drinkers

Community Support Officer Sue Bailey with more than �100 worth of alcohol seized from youngsters in the Seaburn area recently.
Community Support Officer Sue Bailey with more than �100 worth of alcohol seized from youngsters in the Seaburn area recently.
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CIDER, lager and bitter were among the haul of alcohol taken from under-age drinkers in just one hour.

Officers on patrol in Fulwell and Seaburn confiscated more than 140 bottles and cans during a crackdown on antisocial behaviour.

They have pledged to continue to take a stand against illegal young boozers throughout the summer.

Neighbourhood beat manager Gary Mee, who covers Seaburn, said: “It’s well known that youth disorder is fuelled by alcohol and underage drinking.

“And it is this sort of behaviour that can cause fear and intimidation for our communities, as well as disproportionately raise the fear of crime.

“The areas the youths are gathering in are areas that are used by all members of the community such as fields where people walk their dogs, pathways, the promenade and the beach and the rubbish that is being left behind, like broken bottles, is creating a hazard to other people.

“Not only that, a number of fires are being started on the beach.

“We want to put a stop to this and by tackling underage drinking we can hopefully make our communities even safer.”

Police are also warning adults who buy booze for youngsters and shops who serve them that they face hefty action if caught.

Pc Mee added: “Throughout the summer we will be on patrol across the weekend confiscating alcohol from anyone who is under 18, but we also want to stop them from getting their hands on the alcohol in the first place.

“Many parents might not even be aware that their child is drinking alcohol when they’re out.

“We will be working with off-licences and asking them to be extra vigilant.

“There’s no harm in asking to see someone’s ID even if they look over 21 or 25, and some people even find it a compliment.

“We also want off-licences to be on the look out for any adults who may be buying alcohol for youngsters.”

He added: “The area has a lot to offer and we want people to come and visit.

“We don’t want their trip ruined by the mindless behaviour of a few individuals. We simply won’t tolerate it and will take positive action against those responsible.”

Shops caught selling booze to minors could be fined or prosecuted. Those which consistently flout the law face losing their alcohol licence or even being shut down.

People living and working in Fulwell and Seaburn said they are fed up with booze-fuelled youths on the streets.

Secretary Lisa Hopkins, 43, said: “I’ve never had much trouble myself but I have seen them in groups and you do feel quite intimidated.

“I would never let my kids do something like that. I don’t know why there is not more for them to do in the evening.”

Theresa Wood, 41, added: “It does make you think twice about going out to these places. I’m not sure how they even get their hands on the alcohol.”

Councillor Bob Francis, whose ward covers the area, said he supported the action to wipe trouble off the streets.

“I think it’s safe to say that alcohol often does lead to unruly behaviour and we don’t want that.”