Parents targeted in Hayling police booze crackdown

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POLICE have launched a crackdown on under-age boozing in Hayling ahead of the start of the busy tourist season.

Officers will carry out a pilot in the tourist hot spot to educate youngsters, parents and retailers of the dangers of drinking irresponsibly.

Youngsters will be under a ‘three strikes and you’re out’ policy.

The first time they are caught drinking alcohol under-age police and community support officers from Hampshire County Council will confiscate the booze and inform parents.

Following second offences they will be invited to an alcohol workshop with their parent or guardian.

A third offence may mean prosecution.

The idea is to stop the anti-social behaviour caused by drink – from littering and vandalism to violent crime – which is concentrated in the problem areas of Elm Grove, Mengham Road, the dirt jumps, Hayling Park and Sea Front.

Hampshire Community Alcohol Partnership is also targeting adults who buy alcohol on behalf of children, known as proxy purchasing.

Sergeant James Noble is leading the project.

He said: ‘Police want to keep crime levels low on Hayling Island, particularly as the number of people staying in the area increases for the spring and summer tourist season.

‘Bringing together the expertise of police and partner agencies is crucial to making the island an even safer place to live and visit.

‘We want all ages in the community to realise the risks of alcohol abuse so they can prevent the consequences ruining their lives.’

The government-backed scheme is targeting both under and over-18s but will start in school where teachers have been given education packs which will be discussed class.

Havant MP David Willetts said: ‘We all know that we have a particular problem on Hayling Island in the summer season when reports of anti-social behaviour go up.

‘I am delighted by this initiative to help young people and adults understand the dangers of alcohol and to protect local residents from anti-social behaviour.

‘I look forward to the results of the evaluation in the autumn to measure its success.’