Kids booze “hi-jack” fear for Sidmouth Carnival

Police vow crackdown on teen tipplers and will target suppliers

TEENS planning to “hi-jack” Sidmouth Carnival and use it as an excuse for a booze-up will face a robust police response.

Parents and adults who provide youngsters with alcohol have been warned they’ll become the subject of a child neglect or cruelty investigation after officers vowed to crack down on the source of under-age drinkers’ stashes.

More special constables have been tasked to patrol the town in a bid to stop the booze-fuelled, anti-social behaviour of a small group tarnishing tomorrow’s festivities - organised by hard-working volunteers.

The Herald reported last year how police confiscated around 140 litres of alcohol on carnival night - so much they couldn’t carry it all.

“Intelligence from a number of sources suggests a minority of teenage kids are going to use the carnival to go out drinking,” said Sergeant Andy Turner.

“Last year’s carnival was hi-jacked by a small group who decided to mark the event by consuming a large amount of alcohol, drawing attention to themselves with anti-social behaviour, or being so unwell from drink they required assistance.

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“I want to make it perfectly clear that, if you’re found with alcohol tomorrow, it won’t be as simple as officers pouring it away. We will want to know where it has come from and will consider prosecuting people for supplying it.

“Parents have knowingly bought alcohol for youngsters and offences under children’s neglect and cruelty could be being committed. Supplying 13 or 14-year-old children with bottles of vodka will be considered as such by police and social services.

“We’re dealing with a small group of no more than a dozen children here. This dozen can present an awful lot of problems, and drain the resources of emergency services, if all of them become extremely drunk.”

Sgt Turner warned that youngsters often access parents’ alcohol stores without them knowing, and urged adults to check these before the carnival to ensure nothing is missing.

He added under-age drinkers often use going to a friend’s house for a sleepover as a cover for under-age drinking.