Zero tolerance a success say police

BOOZED-UP teenagers drinking and causing problems on Trimley's streets have virtually vanished thanks to a "zero tolerance" campaign said police today.

BOOZED-UP teenagers drinking and causing problems on Trimley's streets have virtually vanished thanks to a "zero tolerance" campaign said police today.

The crackdown on the hardcore of troublemakers has been welcomed by villagers and the community's beat bobbies say it is working well.

They have pledged to carry on the campaign to keep on top of the problems, especially over the summer months when traditionally trouble has been worse.

Community police officer Pc Dave Gledhill said: "The stance we have taken has had the desired effect and we are now not having anywhere near as many problems as before.

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"It is unusual rather than the norm now to get juveniles with alcohol on the streets of Trimley St Mary. This is very good news for the village and the area has now changed quite a lot.

"We have had lots of positive feedback from residents, too."

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Trimley St Mary had become the gathering place for youngsters from Kirton, Felixstowe, Walton, and Old Felixstowe for their under-age drinking exploits, which led to complaints of noise, rowdy behaviour and vandalism.

Pc Gledhill and his colleague Pc Jim Kerr were mystified why the area next to the shops in Faulkeners Way and the Stennetts Memorial field should attract youngsters from so far away.

"Lots of people were coming here and causing problems but now they are going down the seafront or elsewhere," said Pc Gledhill.

Similar initiatives would be launched to deal with the youngsters' new haunts. Meanwhile, work had taken place with off-licences to try to stop the alcohol supply, though some teenagers simply took it from parents' drinks cabinets.

The officers' "zero tolerance" campaign involved seizing alcohol and pouring it away, issuing letters to parents, sometimes calling parents to come and collect their drunk children, most of whom are 14 and 15, and some 16 years old. Youngsters faced a reprimand, which used to be called the caution, and officers had the option of charges and a court appearance.

They feared the youngsters were vulnerable and not in control of themselves when they had been drinking and were likely to commit crime.

Officers said most parents have been extremely supportive of the action taken but some were not as bothered and did not care what their children did while they were out of their sight.

n What do you think – do you support the police's campaign? Where are the youngsters gathering now and are they still causing problems? Write to Evening Star Letters, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail

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