Mayor's plea for booze crackdown

A MAYOR worried about under-age drinking and gangs of youths intimidating residents wants to see his town's alcohol ban zone extended.Frank Whittle, Stowmarket town mayor and chairman of Mid Suffolk District Council's licensing committee, also wants heavy fines imposed on off-licences and supermarkets who sell alcohol to young drinkers.

John Howard

A MAYOR worried about under-age drinking and gangs of youths intimidating residents wants to see his town's alcohol ban zone extended.

Frank Whittle, Stowmarket town mayor and chairman of Mid Suffolk District Council's licensing committee, also wants heavy fines imposed on off-licences and supermarkets who sell alcohol to young drinkers.

Mr Whittle, a former landlord with 38 years experience who had run nine pubs across the country, believes that today's beers are too strong and “alco-pops” should have the amount of liquor within them reduced.

He said: “Under-age drinking is a problem and it is not use saying it isn't, it is happening. It is also the instigator of crime and vandalism

“Stowmarket is a beautiful town and we do not want it spoilt by a few. Youths are congregating in large groups and it is unnerving people.

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“One Friday night recently I was at a church function and there were 30 lads and girls congregating. There are gangs of them and it is very intimidating and we can do without that.

“I would like to see the ban on drinking alcohol in the streets that we have in the town centre, on the Recreation Ground and Station Road extended even further so we can cut down on drinking in the streets.

“But it is not as simple as that. I would personally fully support raising the age that someone can buy alcohol from an off-licence to 21.

“It is well known that 18 to 19-year-olds are buying alcohol and selling it on to those who are under age, sometimes for a profit to support their own drinking habit.”

The mayor added: “We need to take a stand to make our community a safer place to live and not have our lives ruled by teenagers.

“What this Government need to do is return the control back to teachers, police and parents instead of children having the control over them.”

Mr Whittle also wants to see any parents who buy alcohol for their children face a tough fine or prison and supermarkets and off-licences losing their licences for 12 months for second offences.

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