Campaign tackles under-age drinking over the summer

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A CAMPAIGN to target anti-social behaviour and under-age drinking in Ashington is under way.

The ‘Ashington Safer Summer’ initiative will see police in the town working alongside various partner agencies, including Northumberland County Council and housing providers, to tackle incidents.

As part of the programme, which runs until September, there will be increased police patrols and a zero tolerance approach taken on all forms of anti-social behaviour.

Anyone caught offending risks being arrested, summonsed or given an on-the-spot fine, and under-age drinkers will be returned home.

Details will be made to housing providers of those caught committing anti-social behaviour, which could result in eviction proceedings, while young offenders will be referred to social services.

Officers will also be liasing with off-licenses to remind them of their responsibilities on the sale of alcohol, but also to look for the signs of proxy buying where adults purchase a large quantity of alcohol to pass on to youths waiting nearby.

Neighbourhood Inspector for Ashington, Barrie Joisce, said: “Anti-social behaviour and under-age drinking have been identified as issues and we know the public are rightly concerned about them.

“We will be increasing our patrols, making greater use of CCTV, visiting shops selling alcohol to remind them of their responsibilities and taking appropriate action against anyone involved in anti-social behaviour.

“However, we also acknowledge it is the minority of people involved in such behaviour.

“Quite often young people’s behaviour is perceived as anti-social when they’re hanging round in a large group when actually they aren’t committing any offences.

“We want these young people to understand how they may be perceived by putting themselves in other people’s shoes and to encourage them to become involved in more planned activities over the summer months.

“By working together, we can make Ashington a safe place to live, work and visit for all.”

Northumberland County Council’s member with responsibility for public protection, Coun Anita Romer, added: “During the summer, when young people have more free time due to school holidays and the lighter nights encourage people to stay out late, it is important that there is a coordinated approach to tackle anti-social behaviour and under-age drinking.

“For those people who do behave in an anti-social way, they have been warned that the police will take action.”