Underage booze-purge fears grow

PUBLISHED: 14:00 24 May 2009 | UPDATED: 09:13 18 June 2010

A DETERRANT programme has been launched by police in their bid to curb under-age drinking after vast quantities have been seized in Sidmouth. The Herald previously reported officers have took part in a crackdown targeting this problem and in one weekend

A DETERRANT programme has been launched by police in their bid to curb under-age drinking after vast quantities have been seized in Sidmouth.

The Herald previously reported officers have took part in a crackdown targeting this problem and in one weekend alone confiscated 50 litres of alcohol.

But police are so worried by the amount seized so far this year they visited Sidmouth College students this week to air their concerns.

Sergeant Andy Turner, of Sidmouth Police, said: "We have seized a lot more than last year. The bins which we use to keep the confiscated bottle are nearly full up- last year we didn't empty them until around September time."

Officers spoke to all Sidmouth College students over a period of two days and explained the legal dangers of under-age drinking.

Sergeant Turner added: "We wanted to get the message across that what the students are doing now will affect their lives in the future.

"We explained there is a lot more restrictions for licensed premises as well as the person buying it and a lot of the pupils didn't know it was illegal for people under the age of 18 to buy alcohol."

"There was a huge amount of support from head teacher Mr Roberts and his staff."

The reason for the growing trend in under-age drinking is unknown but Sergeant Turner said youths as young as 13 and 14 had been found drinking in areas such as the Esplanade and Connaught Gardens.

He said: "We have identified a lot more people from outside of Sidmouth such as Ottery and Honiton.

"If we find an under-age drinker we will contact their parents straight away to collect them."

People who sell alcohol to youngsters are also being targeted and police confirmed a 19-year-old Sidmouth man was being dealt with for this offence.

The on-going crackdown, Operation Piva, will continue throughout the summer and several patrols have already been planned.


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