Ban on booze begins to bite

POLICE believe underage drinkers in St Neots are beginning to get the message that their actions are illegal and will not be tolerated. In an undercover operation on Friday evening, officers confiscated bottles of vodka, large bottles of cider and cans of

POLICE believe underage drinkers in St Neots are beginning to get the message that their actions are illegal and will not be tolerated.

In an undercover operation on Friday evening, officers confiscated bottles of vodka, large bottles of cider and cans of beer from teenagers, some as young as 14.

No arrests were made but the children - and the adults found supplying under-18s with alcohol - have been warned they are being watched. And all of the children who were found drinking alcohol on Friday night were reprimanded and warned about their future conduct.

Between 60-70 underage drinkers were estimated to be out in St Neots on Friday, but their drinking was cut short by undercover officers.

Sergeant Rachel Gourlay, from the St Neots neighbourhood policing team, said: "We did not receive any complaints from residents about noise or other drink-related problems on Friday night and that has to be down to the operation.

"We stopped a large number of youths around the skate park and Coneygeare Bridge areas and their parents will have had letters in the post this week."

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The operation was part of a Community Alcohol Partnership campaign being run by Cambridgeshire Trading Standards and Cambridgeshire police.

Sgt Gourlay added: "Of course the drinkers will be back out again but now they must be aware that we are watching them."

The campaign is aiming to raise awareness about underage drinking as part of new Government drive. While under-age drinking is not isolated to St Neots, the town is being used in a pilot campaign that will make parents, children and other adults more aware of the problem.

One St Neots mother, who did not wish to be named, told The Hunts Post she believes parents must play their part in the campaign and take responsibility for their children.

She said: "I have seen my teenage son's chat room messages and they say things like 'are you drinking this weekend?'

"It is planned - more so than ever before - and it has to be up to the parents to know where there children are and what they are doing."

Young people in St Neots have also added their support to the campaign.

Longsands College sixth form student Emma Inman, 16, said: "Young people get really ill drinking in public places - you see them as young as 13 or 14 drinking because they think it's cool. They are just copying what adults do.

"Don't follow what other people are doing. If you get drunk you can get into trouble, you could hurt yourself or other people could get hurt."

Emily Bull, 17, a sixth form student at St Neots Community College, added: "The vast majority of young people are good role models and it's the small minority that people, including the media, tend to focus on. It really is a shame that this small group let all of us down."

INFORMATION: To report any issue relating to teenage drinking, contact the Community Alcohol Project on

01954 284619. You can also e-mail your views to editor@huntspost.co.uk

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