Booze blitz a success

POLICE chiefs have hailed the first month of a clampdown on underage boozing a success.

Peterlee’s Neighbourhood Policing Team increased patrols in Blackhall and Horden over the past four weekends.

The aim was to crack down on the number of youths drinking in the street and their yobbish behaviour in a bid to improve residents’ quality of life.

Inspector Dave Coxon, of Peterlee Police, said over the past four weeks there have been 44 anti-social behaviour notices handed out, 23 alcohol seizures and three arrests.

The arrests include two for being drunk and disorderly, one of which has been charged to attend court and another who was fined £80, and one which resulted in a caution for theft and assault.

Two other people were also reported for public order offences and they have been summoned to court.

Insp Coxon, who placed the issue as the first on his list of priorities when he was appointed just a month ago, said: “We are trying to give a message to the community that they can take some responsibility for what’s going on and we will act on any information given to us.

“We are starting to see a shift in the number of people coming forward – we had 37 people at the last Police and Communities Together (PACT) meeting in Blackhall.

“I think this is a positive, people are prepared to come and speak and be listened to.”

Insp Coxon said Monk Hesleden Parish Council told him it is also seeing an improvement in police responses.

He added: “I don’t envisage the patrols will be long-term.

“But once we target the ring-leaders, we will see a reduction in the number of reports of problems.”

Coun Dennis Maddison, who represents Horden on Durham County Council, said: “Members of the public are seeing a big difference.

“Now they realise we are not going to tolerate this behaviour.

“Also, thanks to the Mail for raising awareness of the operations.”

Coun Alan Cox, Blackhall’s representative on the local authority, said: “At the moment, the police are keeping a hefty eye on things and things have improved but we will have to monitor the situation closely.”

Special constables will be drafted in to patrol the two areas this Friday, in a bid to free up more officers in other areas of east Durham.

Anyone with concerns about anti-social behaviour can call Peterlee Police on 0345 6060365.