CAP on youth drinking

NEARLY 3,000 letters are to be sent to parents of St Neots senior school children asking for their help tackling underage drinking in the town. The letter will also invite parents to attend an alcohol awareness session with the advice charity, Drinksense,

NEARLY 3,000 letters are to be sent to parents of St Neots senior school children asking for their help tackling underage drinking in the town.

The letter will also invite parents to attend an alcohol awareness session with the advice charity, Drinksense, to help them better understand the dangers of underage drinking.

Both Longsands College and St Neots Community College pupils will be given the letter in the next few weeks as part of the Community Alcohol Partnership (CAP) scheme.

Over the past two months, CAP has been highlighting the problem of underage drinking and has taken proactive steps reduce the number of young drinkers in St Neots.

However, according to Charlotte Wilson, CAP project manager, there were still problems with alcohol being supplied to children by adults, and the letter aims to tackle this area.

"Whilst Trading Standards have done much work in the past on educating retailers and enforcing their obligations under licensing legislation, we also recognise that there are other factors contributing to underage drinking," she said.

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CAP, which is a pilot project, has found from a survey of 55 St Neots teenagers aged 14, 15 and 16, that 43 of them said they drink alcohol.

And of those 43, 70 per cent said they get alcohol from their parents.

In addition to this, an online forum used by St Neots residents reveals parents are concerned that their children may be given alcohol by other children's parents.

Miss Wilson said these were "worrying facts" and highlighted the need for adults to be educated on the wider implications of underage drinking."

It is hoped the Drinksense session taking place at Longsands College on January 8 will discourage adults from giving alcohol to youths.

CAP is a partnership between Cambridgeshire Trading Standards and the police to tackle underage drinking in St Neots and the problems associated with it, such as noise, rowdiness, intimidation, vandalism and anti-social behaviour. As part of the campaign, alcohol testing kits have been used on drinks and spot checks have been carried out at the town's hotspots with alcohol being confiscated from youths.

INFORMATION: The Drinksense session for parents will be held on January 8 at Longsands College from 6.30 to 8.30pm. To book a place contact CAP on 01954 284619 or e-mail charlotte.wilson@cambridgeshire.gov.uk

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