Underage drinkers targeted in project

A new project has been launched to combat the scourge of underage drinking in parts of Norfolk.

Last night it emerged that a number of organisations had joined forces to take a more united approach to the problem.

Newly formed community alcohol partnerships (CAP) will aim to make it harder for young people to get alcohol.

Retailers will also be targeted to make sure they are not selling drinks to youngsters, and groups of young people who get adults to buy their drinks will be identified.

It comes as Norwich-based charity Norcas, which supports people affected by addictive behaviours, launched a new service offering workshops to 12 to 19-year-olds in Norfolk and Suffolk who are abusing drugs and alcohol.

The charity surveyed 100 young people in Norwich and Ipswich, aged nine to 20, and found that 75pc drank alcohol, 24pc drank every day, and 70pc knew someone who has had problems with drug use.

Meanwhile, the new CAP project will first be launched in the King’s Lynn area, specifically targeting Gaywood, Fairstead, Reffley and the Woottons, and Watton.

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Both areas have experienced youth anti-social behaviour issues, often linked to alcohol usage.

The success of a CAP will be monitored regularly, with the possibility of them being rolled out to other targeted areas of Norfolk.

The partnerships have already proved successful in other parts of the country.

Ann Steward, Norfolk County Council Cabinet member with responsibility for Trading Standards, said: “There is a small minority of young people in these areas who are managing to obtain alcohol and are sadly causing a nuisance for those nearby.

“The members of the partnership will share their respective knowledge and skills – looking to directly engage with the young people to help them realise the impact they are having on their community, whilst also looking to stop the supply of alcohol to those who are underage at source, whether that be through retailers or adults that are providing alcohol to young people.”

The partnerships will build on the existing work of Norfolk County Council Trading Standards and Norfolk Constabulary by linking more effectively with the work of the relevant borough or district council, Norfolk County Council children’s services integrated youth support team, and the Retail of Alcohol Standards Group – which represents major retailers, and is backed by the Wine and Spirit Trade Association and both large and small retailers.