Binge drinking crackdown

POLICE said last night they will crackdown on the escalating levels of drinking and anti-social behaviour in east Suffolk market towns.Twenty five letters have already been sent to parents of youngsters caught with alcohol on the streets of Leiston and extra officers will be drafted into the town on Friday and Saturday nights to tackle anti-social behaviour and criminal damage.

POLICE said last night they will crackdown on the escalating levels of drinking and anti-social behaviour in east Suffolk market towns.

Twenty five letters have already been sent to parents of youngsters caught with alcohol on the streets of Leiston and extra officers will be drafted into the town on Friday and Saturday nights to tackle anti-social behaviour and criminal damage. Similar campaigns are planned for Framlingham and Saxmundham.

Leiston sector commander Insp Ian Moore said he felt binge drinking was a growing problem in the town and police will target young adults who provide youngsters with alcohol.

"I would say there is an increase in it, but youngsters have always drunk under-age, but this bingeing, it's become part of the culture," he said.


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He added that personally he was very much against proposals to introduce 24 hour licensing.

"I think the culture in this country has gone so far into binge drinking, I don't think culturally we seem to cope with it. The objective is to get drunk, that's the trouble," he said.

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The Leiston crackdown is part of Operation Nightsafe, which is already established in Lowestoft and Felixstowe to tackle crime and disorder.

Nightsafe will run during early evenings on Friday and Saturday, with extra officers helping patrol problem areas.

The extra officers have been allocated through a new tasking process, which has been adopted throughout Suffolk, which allows resources to be sent to areas where they are needed, when they are needed.

Police have joined forces with shops and pubs in the town to ask for their help to tackle problems with under-age drinking.

"In Lowestoft and Felixstowe, Nightsafe has brought club and pub owners together to tackle damage and disorder incidents," said Mr Moore.

"In Leiston the issues are slightly different but the principles are the same – bringing police, including community police officers and the Special Constabulary, together with other agencies to tackle the problems we face on a local level.

"Over the past couple of weekends we have seized a large volume of alcohol from young people and have spoken to adults suspected of supplying it to them.

"This is contributing to anti-social behaviour in the town and we want to address the problem.

The crackdown was welcomed by Leiston-cum-Sizewell Town Council chairman Frank Huxley, who felt "one trouble-maker is too many".

"I would welcome anything that improves Leiston, that makes it a better place to be. Having said that, I enjoy living in Leiston," he said.

"One suspects that often parents don't know what their youngsters are up to."

Marian Andrews, chairman of Saxmundham Town Council, welcomed the idea of a crackdown in the town.

"I think there is under-age drinking in Saxmundham and I think there has been for a very long time, but how they are getting hold of it I don't know," she said.

"We have been saying for some time we are worried about alcohol abuse and the effect it's having on young people."

She felt alcohol was "one of the great difficulties we have to face with young people", and anything which reduced the problem was to be applauded.

"We have been suffering a bit of vandalism and loutish behaviour and noise and disturbance."

The Government launched a new strategy on binge drinking this week, with wide-ranging new measures to tackle the problem.

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