Keeping a close eye on off licences
Dated: 17 Dec 2007
Police in South Tyneside are keeping a close eye on off-licences to reduce disorder and to prevent children getting hold of alcohol.
This is part of the forcewide campaign entitled "Enough is Enough", where police are targeting under-age drinkers and outlets which fuel the problems by selling drink to under 18s.
Officers in Cleadon and East Shields are making regular checks on places where groups of youths gather, drink alcohol and then cause disorder.
As part of their patrols officers are stopping outside off-licences during the times when disorder traditionally increases, noting the behaviour of individuals in the area and acting on any anti-social behaviour they observe.
Police are targeting areas which have experienced problems in the past, monitoring the area and speaking to shop staff.
So far this month 36 checks have been carried out, 99 youngsters have been stopped and spoken to, 23 letters have been sent to parents advising them of their child's behaviour and 49 bottles of alcohol have been poured away.
Neighbourhood Inspector Peter Sutton said: "The vast majority of our off-licences are well managed and well run and they welcome the extra police attention we are giving them. But, a small minority do allow youngsters access to alcohol, in some cases selling it to underage drinkers or to others who will then sell it on to children.
"We are determined to do all we can to prevent this from happening and making sure that retailers are fully aware of their responsibilities is one part of that. We also want them to know that we are making regular checks across South Tyneside so we can offer them help and advice in dealing with underage children who try to buy alcohol."
Police are promising firm action and under 18s found drunk will be taken home to their parents and their details recorded. Those who continue to cause problems could find themselves facing restrictions under Anti-Social Behaviour legislation.
Off-licences will be reminded if they are caught selling to under 18s they could lose their licence, while sales staff will be held personally responsible and could be fined or even charged.
Police will also be targeting adults who buy alcohol to pass on to youngsters. They face arrest and could ultimately be fined up to £400 by the courts.