Blitz on booze reaps rewards

MORE than 50 youngsters were stopped by police in Great Yarmouth during the holidays as part of an effort to fight underage drinking.

During the campaign, codenamed Operation Calm, officers seized a vast amount of alcohol from teenagers found drinking on the streets.

In total 55 people were stopped over the six-week operation – 39 males and 16 females – and alcohol was seized from most.

Police seized 71 cans of lager and 23 bottles of lager, four cans and eight bottles of cider, and nine bottles of vodka. Four bottles of wine and a bottle of Pernod, Archers and sherry were also taken from youngsters during patrols.

Police also found one person drinking alcohol which they had tried to disguise in a baby bottle.

The operation aimed to reduce anti-social behaviour and underage drinking in the school holidays and involved officers from the Safer Neighbourhood Teams in the Gorleston area and the Anti-Social Behaviour Unit.

Increased patrols were carried out during peak problem times on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights in problem areas. These included Green Lane in Bradwell, the Recreation Ground in Gorleston, and the river wall in Cobholm – well-known haunts for young people drinking alcohol.

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Insp Alun Gibbs said: “We know from previous years that a number of criminal damage incidents happen as a result of young people getting hold of alcohol. This has a major impact on the community affecting people’s quality of life which is why we have taken positive action.

“Seizing drink from young people was a key part of this operation – by taking away the alcohol we remove a trigger for a lot of the offending.”

As a result of the operation there has been a reduction in the number of anti-social behaviour incidents reported to police in the Gorleston area compared to last year. Reports have reduced by 10.55pc in the Magdalen area and 35.42pc in the Bradwell area.

There was a 14.49pc reduction in Gorleston while Cobholm and Southtown and southern villages saw a combined drop of 19.14pc.

Reports of criminal damage were also down with 65 fewer offences reported than last year.

Officers also visited licensed premises in the areas regularly to raise awareness of the consequences of selling alcohol to under-18s.

Warning letters were sent to the parents of 30 young people stopped by police. The letters operate under a three strike rule and anyone who receives three notices in a year can be reported for offences. Two people were issued with second notices during the operation.