Resort drunken youths problem solved

PROBLEMS with drunken youths hanging around in Felixstowe town centre have been solved thanks to a joint initiative by police and shopkeepers.The group of youngsters had taken over the shelter on The Triangle in Hamilton Road, where they would drink alcohol – their behaviour upsetting and intimidating residents.

PROBLEMS with drunken youths hanging around in Felixstowe town centre have been solved thanks to a joint initiative by police and shopkeepers.

The group of youngsters had taken over the shelter on The Triangle in Hamilton Road, where they would drink alcohol – their behaviour upsetting and intimidating residents.

There was also concern the group was dissuading young people from going into the Level 2 youth centre opposite.

But thanks to work by the police community support officers (CSOs) and town centre beat officers, who persuaded shopkeepers not to sell them booze, the situation has been resolved – and the group moved on.

Sgt Mick Richardson said the group of 17 to 22 year olds had been leaving drinks cans and bottles strewn around the shelter and its entrance.

He said: "The CSOs were getting feedback from residents and shoppers in the town that they felt somewhat intimidated by this group and they were creating an unpleasant environment for everyone.

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"It was also affecting the work being done by Level 2 – where staff work on anti-drugs and drink projects – as many of the youngsters were being deterred from going to the centre by the gang."

One of the difficulties in dealing with the situation was that members of the group were old enough to buy alcohol – and Felixstowe does not have a ban on drinking in the town centre.

Sgt Richardson said: "Officers went to Iceland, Tesco, Solar and Unwins off licences and, without naming names, we told them about the situation and asked if they would work together with us to identify people who might be drinking anti-socially in the town centre.

"We then asked them to consider whether or not selling alcohol to them would lead to anti-social behaviour.

"The result was that this group found their supply of drink dried up within 24 hours because no-one would sell it to them.

"They have since vacated the town centre and gone elsewhere for their activities and there have been no further complaints."

New legislation is requiring people who sell alcohol to consider the impact on the community of the booze and if it would result in offences or anti-social behaviour.

Felixstowe police chief Insp Neal Atwell praised all those who worked on the project, particularly the CSOs who are playing a leading role in the town centre and seafront in improving police presence, acting as the eyes and ears of the force, and tackling problems worrying residents.

n. Have you benefited from this work? Are you having problems like this in another area? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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