Confiscated alcohol from underage drinkers to bring Christmas cheer to disadvantaged Sid Valley families

PC Steve Lee, Sgt Andy Squires and PCSO Phil Thomas with alcohol they are donating to The Sidmouth F

PC Steve Lee, Sgt Andy Squires and PCSO Phil Thomas with alcohol they are donating to The Sidmouth Food Bank. Ref shs 39 18TI 2160. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Alcohol confiscated from underage drinkers will be used to bring Christmas cheer to disadvantaged families.

A total of 110 cans and bottles of alcohol were seized from young people by the area’s police, including at Sidmouth Carnival.

At first, the plan was to tip the alcohol down the drain but the town’s top ranking police officer - Sergeant Andy Squires - contacted Sid Valley Food Bank to see if it could be of better use there.

The charity’s organisers were pleased by the gesture and will be using the items in a raffle to help raise money to pay for the Christmas hampers at one of their fundraising events in November - details to follow.

Officers turned out in force to Sidmouth Carnival, which took place on Saturday, after trouble with teens at last year’s fair.

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Last year, the Herald reported on emergency services being left unable to cope with ‘comatose teens’ at Sidmouth fair, which normally takes place on the same weekend as the carnival.

At the time police said they were forced to offer first aid themselves to help relieve paramedics trying to deal with youngsters who had collapsed and in some cases were ‘unconscious’ through ‘alcohol, legal highs and ecstasy or a cocktail of all three’.

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But Sgt Squires said this year’s event was in stark contrast.

He added: “This year we have had no issues with drunk, incapable or fighting youngsters.

“Despite the weather a good time was had by all, without the need for alcohol.

“Having obtained the necessary clearance at various levels, I can say that we are able to donate this alcohol to the local food bank to help raise money for their Christmas hampers.

“This will bring a bit of Christmas cheer to families, at a very expensive time of year.”

The foodbank’s coordinator Andie Milne said: “We are planning to use the alcohol as raffle prizes to help raise money for the Christmas hampers.

“It is amazing and it is lovely. Sgt Squires works closely with the foodbank and the homeless charity Gateway, so he is aware of the number of families that struggle.

“It is really nice he thought of the foodbank. This is the first time they have been able to do this and it is a good way to benefit local charities.

“I was totally shocked when he rang to say he had such a big donation - it is just so nice.”

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