Police nab underage drinkers

SCORES of youths were targeted in a police clampdown against underage drinking.

Bottles of booze were confiscated from groups of teenagers and one youth was arrested when police took action in Horden.

The Friday night patrol was hailed a success and it will be repeated over the next three weekends.

Councillor Dennis Maddison, who represents Horden on Durham County Council, joined police and street wardens to target groups of up to 50 young people who were gathering in areas of the village.

Coun Maddison joined the patrol of five police community support officers, two police officers and five street wardens at 5.45pm. Police had already confiscated seven bottles of wine from a group of five teenagers at 3.30pm.

A group of between 40 and 50 young drinkers was dispersed from the area near Third Street Coun Maddison said the youngsters had “bags and bags of alcohol” which were taken off them.

One youth was arrested on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly.

Coun Maddison said: “It sends the right message out that if you are seen with alcohol on the streets it will be taken off you.

“Parents will be told and this behaviour will not be tolerated.

“There seems to be a never-ending flow of alcohol and we are trying to find out where it is coming from.”

Coun Maddison said the drinking hotspots were Third Street, Fifth Street and near the polytunnels off Third Street.

He added: “The young people are getting alcohol very early so we are targeting them early, to get it off the streets.

“Do these kids realise what they are getting into when they are drunk?

“The residents were all out and gave us positive feedback that they are glad something is being done.

“People are intimidated and frightened to go out.

“One woman didn’t even dare go to the shop for milk.

“I understand some kids are in large groups and not doing anything but it’s intimidating for residents.”

The clampdown comes after Blackhall councillor Rob Crute and Monk Hesleden Parish Council clerk, Lynda Wardle, met Inspector Dave Coxon, of Peterlee police, over similar trouble in Blackhall.

Coun Maddison said the patrols extended to Blackhall and a group of youths were dispersed there.