Children as young as 13 claim to be drinking "almost everyday" in seaside town
PUBLISHED: 16:31 17 October 2019 | UPDATED: 16:31 17 October 2019
Children as young as 13 say they are drinking almost everyday according to a survey of young people in Gorleston and Bradwell.
The figures are among early results of a probe into drinking habits by a new Community and Alcohol Partnership (CAP), launched in Gorleston today, Thursday.
They also reveal parents are the main suppliers of alcohol with 90pc saying they were happy for their young teens to have a drink as long as they didn't get drunk.
The survey also found 33pc of young people had drunk alcohol in the last week, and 11 teens said they had engaged in sexual activity while drunk, which they regretted the next day.
The new CAP, however, aims to make alcohol harder to buy and would see shops, supermarkets, and schools involved to cut the impact, and spell out the possible lasting effects.
Launching the scheme at Gorleston's Pavilion Theatre Sgt Julie Johnson said the initiative in Gorleston and Bradwell built on a successful scheme in Great Yarmouth which had cut incidents related to street drinking by 61pc.
Sgt Johnson said Gorleston and Bradwell had known "hotspots" including the busy high street and park hang-outs where alcohol was a factor in anti-social behaviour.
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She said the problems dated back to 2016 and that alcohol had created "community tension" in Bradwell.
In one street the nuisance of booze-fuelled teenagers constantly knocking on doors escalated into a street fight as fed-up neighbours tried to tackle the youths.
Another report was from the parent of a seven-year-old girl who was "having bad dreams" because of anti-social behaviour.
Programme manager Gillian Walters said a compliancy sweep of shops and supermarkets in the area found 37pc did not check for ID.
And while alcohol consumption was dropping among young people overall, the survey results proved there was a problem.
According to anonymous questionnaires filled in by children aged 13 to 15, some 8pc of 13-year-olds said they drank alcohol "almost everyday".
Other CAP schemes in the country had delivered a 50pc reduction in drinking levels, she said.
Chief Superintendent Dave Marshall said: "We see people whose lives have been damaged by alcohol abuse and their behaviour impacts on family and friends, and also the lives of others when it fuels anti-social behaviour."