Call to end ‘booze trains’ after drunken disorder

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Calls have been made to put a stop to boozed-up train passengers being allowed to down alcohol on Hartlepool trains at all hours of the day.

Members of the Safer Hartlepool Partnership say action needs to be taken against so-called ‘booze trains’ to York and Newcastle that are packed with weekend revellers drinking alcohol.

It’s a massive concern to us in terms of where we are being deployed and how much demand it is making on us

Cleveland Police Chief Superintendant Gordon Lang

Partnership member Councillor Marjorie James said she was recently concerned for her safety because of the drunken behaviour of passengers on a train from Newcastle to Hartlepool on a Saturday night.

She said: “There were people jumping on seats, banging the roof of the train and screaming and shouting.

“They were all drinking yet they were clearly drunk when they got on the train.

“They had been allowed through the ticket barrier with bags containing more alcohol that had been bought at the station. It is very intimidating to watch and is not acceptable. Something quite clearly needs to be done.”

The partnership heard journeys to York had also become increasingly boozy at the weekend.

Coun James said it was not just young people, adding: “I have observed people fall off the train at Hartlepool who are completely legless drunk in their fifties who have been for a day out in Newcastle as a group and been drinking for 12 hours plus.”

Chief Superintendant Gordon Lang said the problem impacted on numerous agencies and believed greater enforcement by the British Transport Police would help.

But he added there were wider issues to do with the easy availability of cheap alcohol from supermarkets and off licences.

Chf Supt Lang told yesterday’s meeting of the partnership: “This is about excessive drinking and it’s a massive concern to us in terms of where we are being deployed and how much demand it is making on us.”

It was agreed for partnership chairman Coun Christopher Akers-Belcher to write to the British Transport Police about the problem.