New test for underage drinkers

POLICE today unveiled a new weapon to crack down on underage drinkers who try to beat the law by mixing their booze with soft drinks.A litmus-style testing kit goes on trial in the Kesgrave area which can detect the presence of alcohol in any liquid.

POLICE today unveiled a new weapon to crack down on underage drinkers who try to beat the law by mixing their booze with soft drinks.

A litmus-style testing kit goes on trial in the Kesgrave area which can detect the presence of alcohol in any liquid.

Sgt Mick Richardson, of Kesgrave and district safer neighbourhood team, said: “We are aware that some of our 'under the legal age to drink' young people have taken to pre-mixing their alcohol with soft drinks before we catch them with the alcohol itself.

“We find the evidence of alcohol in the form of empty spirit bottles but it's too late by then.

“With the new kits we can test the liquid. To put it in simple terms if alcohol is present then the litmus-style paper changes colour - if it's absent the litmus paper stays unchanged.

“The kit is a little more complicated than that but basically that's what it is.

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“Now, with these kits, we will be able to deal effectively with our suspicions and reduce further the issues surrounding alcohol related anti-social behaviour - and reduce the potential linked crimes that can result from alcohol consumption by those under the age of 18 in public places, like damage and assault.”

Under current legislation offices can search anyone aged under 18 for possession of alcohol but are unable to deal with mixed drinks as there is no accurate and safe way of determining if alcohol is present.

The trial is available thanks to funding from Suffolk coastal crime and disorder reduction partnership and Suffolk police's community safety unit.

It is the first of its kind in Suffolk and if successful could be rolled out across the rest of the county.

Will this work? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveninstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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