CHILDREN as young as 12 were spotted drinking on the streets during a clampdown on underage boozing.
Peterlee Police joined forces with Durham County Council street wardens and local councillor Dennis Maddison in patrols of Horden which resulted in 17 anti-social behaviour notices being handed out to youths.
Licensing chiefs are warning off-licences and people who buy booze for youngsters they are clamping down on underage alcohol sales to combat a rise in street drinking in the warmer weather.
Coun Maddison, who represents Horden on the council, said: “I’ve never seen it as bad as that. I counted about 120 kids out drinking. It was mayhem.
“The police and street wardens are doing a fantastic job but it’s out of hand. There were kids of 12 and 13 absolutely legless and some were getting abusive. We have to find out where the alcohol is coming from.”
Coun Maddison said the problem had not been as bad when regular youth nights at Peterlee Leisure Centre took place.
The patrol took place last Friday and followed a similar initiative a week before. But Coun Maddison said the situation last week was worse than the previous weekend.
PC Sam Level, Durham Police’s licensing officer, said an ongoing operation is taking place in the Peterlee area regarding underage alcohol sales.
She said police can check “lock-codes” which tell officers where alcohol was sold. Anyone found to be supplying youngsters with booze can be prosecuted and receive an £80 fixed penalty notice. The maximum penalty if the case goes to court is a £5,000 fine.
Inspector Dave Coxon, of Peterlee Police, said: “We handed out 17 anti-social behaviour warnings and we will be continuing patrols.”
Anyone with concerns regarding anti-social behaviour can call Peterlee Police on 0345 6060365.