800 yobs arrested in police crackdown

A BLITZ on alcohol-related crime in Suffolk saw more than 800 boozy troublemakers arrested in just two months, police revealed today.On the day Tony Blair pledged to back a fresh drive to stamp out anti-social behaviour nationally, it emerged 385 drink-sodden revellers were caught in Ipswich, Hadleigh and Sudbury alone, during the eight-week purge.

A BLITZ on alcohol-related crime in Suffolk saw more than 800 boozy troublemakers arrested in just two months, police revealed today.

On the day Tony Blair pledged to back a fresh drive to stamp out anti-social behaviour nationally, it emerged 385 drink-sodden revellers were caught in Ipswich, Hadleigh and Sudbury alone, during the eight-week purge.

In total at least 814 offences were committed countywide ranging from attempted murder to being drunk and disorderly.

Despite the huge volume of arrests, police are delighted and believe their Home Office-funded crackdown, which featured an offbeat Lock'Em Inn campaign, has paid dividends. They also pledged there would be no let-up in their zero tolerance strategy.

Chief Inspector Alan Caton, who was responsible for the campaign in Ipswich, Hadleigh and Sudbury, said: “We are very pleased with the results from the campaign and believe that our early intervention, zero tolerance approach to alcohol-related violence and disorder helped to allow people to have enjoyable evening out.

“The campaign undoubtedly had an impact on the levels of crimes leading up to, and during the Christmas and New Year period, and although officers were busy on most evenings dealing with incidents we had no major events of disorder.

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“Although the campaign has come to an end, our early intervention, zero tolerance stance, will continue and we will aim to keep alcohol related crime and disorder to a minimum within our towns.”

As well as police and community support officers, council CCTV footage and Ipswich's town link radio system - which connects pubs and clubs - were heavily relied upon during the crackdown.

One Ipswich officer, Sergeant Alistair Livingstone, who promoted the campaign during its launch, embodied its ethos by making 20 arrests, which meant he was responsible for more than five per cent of the offenders caught in the southern sector.

Street pastors were also used in Ipswich in the run-up to Christmas to diffuse potentially volatile situations and trading standards officers, working with police, carried out undercover operations to identify premises selling alcohol to children.

Elsewhere 219 arrests were made throughout the eastern area of the county, which includes the Felixstowe and Woodbridge areas, as part of the campaign. Although the figures for the Stowmarket, Needham Market and Bury St Edmunds areas are still to be collated, Mike Nunn, a Suffolk police spokesman, said the final total was likely to be in excess of 210 arrests.

N Do you think the alcohol-related crime crackdown is a good thing? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk .

The main offences committed in Ipswich, Hadleigh, and Sudbury were;

N Grievous bodily harm, actual bodily harm and affray - 92 arrests

N Drunk and disorderly - 78 arrests

N Drink-driving or failing to provide a specimen - 64 arrests

N Criminal damage - 33 arrests

N Assault on police - six arrests

N Attempted murder - one arrest

N Rape - one arrest

The number of arrests made in south Suffolk equate to a packed Ipswich to London commuter train or the seats in one of the cinema screens at Cineworld in Ipswich.

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