Tests boost fight to curb the under-age drinkers

ALCOHOL testing kits are to be used in St Neots in the fight against the town s under-age drinkers. Trading Standards officers will be testing drinks after discovering many teenagers are pre-mixing drinks and taking them out on the town in unmarked plasti

ALCOHOL testing kits are to be used in St Neots in the fight against the town's under-age drinkers.

Trading Standards officers will be testing drinks after discovering many teenagers are pre-mixing drinks and taking them out on the town in unmarked plastic bottles.

The kits will be used as part of the Community Alcohol Partnership (CAP) project, which aims to crack down on - and educate - under-age drinkers and the people who supply them with drink.

Police and Trading Standards officers have already started to have an impact on under-age drinking.

During a joint operation on the evening of Friday, October 26, officers carried out spot checks at the town's hotspots, including St Neots Road and the rear of St Neots Community College. In three hours they confiscated 33 cans of beer, a bottle of vodka and a plastic bottle filled with vodka and coke.

Charlotte Wilson, project manager for the CAP, said the operation was a huge success. "The fact that we visited the Riverside skate park and found there to be no trouble there at all was very promising as we have identified that area as a hotspot for under-age drinking.

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"We hope that the youths have ceased drinking and not just moved elsewhere. We will need to keep our ears to the ground in case they have found somewhere new to meet.

"We certainty do not want to shift the problem elsewhere."

However, the alcohol testing kits will help maintain the campaign's message. They will allow officers to identify whether a liquid in a plastic bottle is alcoholic.

"If youngsters think they can hide their alcohol from us they are very much mistaken," said Miss Wilson.

Trading Standard officers also visited the Tesco store in Barford Road after staff reported youngsters were trying to buy alcohol.

"Tesco are hot on checking for ID," she said. "Even if people are over the age of 18 but they are with someone who is not old enough to drink, they could still be refused alcohol in case the older person is buying it for them."

While out patrolling the streets, alcohol was seized from youngsters aged 15 to 17.

"They are getting their alcohol from somewhere," said Miss Wilson "Part of our campaign is to work with shops to stop alcohol getting in to the hands of under-age people. It is about education."

CAP is being run jointly by the police and Trading Standards as a pilot project with the aim of raising awareness of under-age drinking.

Miss Wilson said: "So far the campaign has been really successful and I think youngsters have now got the message that we are watching them. But we need the public's help in this crackdown on under-age drinkers and would urge anyone with information to contact us."

INFORMATION: You can contact CAP on 01954 284619 or e-mail editor@huntspost.co.uk, or write to The Hunts Post, 30 High Street, Huntingdon PE29 3TB.

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