A doorstep message is being used to tackle the problem of underage drinking in Blyth.
Members of the town’s Community Alcohol Partnership (CAP) are reminding shoppers not to buy alcohol for under 18s by using a spray-painted message stencilled on off-licence doorsteps.
Thirty shops selling booze have signed up to allow their premises to be used to highlight the issue across the town.
Officers from Blyth Neighbourhood Policing Team have been leaving the message to provide a clearly visible reminder to shoppers before they enter the store.
Police are also speaking to staff reminding them of their responsibilities to make sure the alcohol they sell doesn’t get into the hands of children.
Neighbourhood Beat Manager, PC Billy Mulligan, said: “We have a really good relationship with the stores in the town and they’re happy to help us remind people to ensure alcohol is only sold to adults to drink, not to be given or sold on to children.”
He added: “We’d like to thank the 30 stores who have supported the CAP by adopting the warning signage outside of their stores.
“We also want to get this important message across to adults that there are serious penalties if they are caught for buying alcohol for children. These so-called proxy sales attract a £90 fixed penalty notice.
“Children shouldn’t have access to alcohol – those who do drink make themselves vulnerable as well as risking ill health. These youngsters could be at risk of child sexual exploitation and are also much more likely to get involved in causing anti-social behaviour which also bring problems to the wider community. We want to safeguard our children from this sort of harm.
“We will always take action when we find that adults have been buying alcohol for children.”
Vera Baird QC, Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner and chairman of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, said: “This activity demonstrates that our officers are listening to the concerns of local people and are working closely with partners to protect the vulnerable and tackle anti-social behaviour head on. Under-age drinking can effect individuals and local communities and I give my full backing this creative approach to bring about positive change for the residents of Blyth.”
County councillor Liz Simpson, chairman of Safer Northumberland, said: “This is a great example of how agencies can use innovative ideas to raise awareness of alcohol-related issues.
“As well as enforcement, it is important we educate and protect young people from the dangers of alcohol and I am pleased so many local traders have come on board.”
The Blyth Community Alcohol Partnership (CAP) was launched in May and brings together partners from Safer Northumberland, Northumbria Police, Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, local retailers and licensees, councillors, health services, housing providers and schools to tackle the problem of underage drinking and associated anti-social behaviour.
Anyone who has concerns about crime or disorder where they live should contact their neighbourhood policing team on 101.
For more information about policing in your community follow the Blyth neighbourhood Team on Twitter @NPNBlythNPT