Scheme targets under-age boozers

Inspector Lee Rukin
Inspector Lee Rukin

UNDER-AGE drinkers will be targeted as part of a wide-ranging initiative taking place on a Hartlepool estate next week.

Operation Cleansweep, which brings together organisations including Hartlepool Borough Council, Cleveland Police and Cleveland Fire Brigade under the banner of the Safer Hartlepool Partnership, will focus on the Clavering area for a week from Monday.

Various environmental works and highways improvements are also to be carried out in the area.

Karen Oliver, the council’s neighbourhood manager in the north of the town, said: “We are aware that a minority of young people do gather on the estate’s open spaces, particularly at weekends, to consume alcohol.

“This initiative is not about demonising young people, but more about protecting their health and well-being.

“We are keen to work with parents and we would urge them – particularly those with teenagers – to be aware of their children’s activities and whereabouts.”

Inspector Lee Rukin, who leads Cleveland Police’s neighbourhood policing team in the north of Hartlepool, said there would be high-visibility police patrols and added: “We intend to confiscate alcohol found to be in the possession of young people and, where necessary, we will be issuing formal anti-social behaviour warning notices.”

Officials from the council’s licensing team will be providing support by using volunteers to carry out “test purchases” in an attempt to identify shops and other outlets that may be selling alcohol to under-age customers.

Inspector Rukin added: “While a large part of our work during Operation Cleansweep will centre on enforcement, we want people to be reassured by

our presence.

“Officers will also be issuing advice to householders on a range of home and personal safety issues.”

Council horticultural teams will be carrying out tree works in the Sandwich Grove, Rafton Drive and Clavering Road areas while shrub beds are to be cleared out and a number of grassed areas edged.

There will also be a blitz on graffiti on street nameplates, road signs, walls, doors, fences and telephone control boxes.

Environmental enforcement staff from the council will be carrying out patrols to clamp-down on litter, dog fouling, fly-tipping and abandoned and untaxed vehicles.

Highways works will include street lighting checks and repairs, re-painting of streetlight columns and repairs to roads signs, pedestrian barriers and street nameplates.

All gullies are to be cleaned and road markings will be re-painted where required.