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Major drive to tackle under-age drinking abuse in Ribble Valley
A MAJOR drive to stop alcohol abuse by under-age drinkers and cut off their booze supply has been launched in Ribble Valley as part of multi-pronged project to keep young people away from drink and drugs misuse.
The Community Alcohol Network involved the police, trading standards, the borough council and the off-licence trade by targetting hidden drink and drug dens, educating and supporting retailers and highlighting the risks to under 18s.
It is based on a similar scheme in Hyndburn and links in with the Clitheroe Castle Grounds Project which aims to steer youngsters away from the temptations of drink and drugs.
The success of the scheme in Clitheroe and Whalley, where it is was rolled out last month, was reported last nigh tto the Ribble Valley council licensing com-mittee which approved its extension to Longridge.
Over the past month police and council officials have been searching out hidden venues for under age drinking and drug misuse by under 18s.
They went ‘off the beaten track’ using intelligence from local residents to places such as Brungerly Park, Salthill Park and Henthorn Park in Clitheroe and Proctors Field in Whalley.
Under the initiative young people caught drinking or using drugs are taken by police to a ‘place of safety’ and their parents called to take them home as well as being given help, support and advice. In addition to trading standards test purchases from off-licences and supermarkets, support was offered to retailers by police and council officials where adults were “proxy purchasing” alcohol to supply under-age drinkers.
The Castle Ground Project has been intervening with up to 40 youngsters involved in drink and drugs.
Ribble Valley Council comm-unity safety officer Bill Alker, who presented last night’s report to councillors, said: “There has been a lot of work done on this project and we have been pleasantly surprised by the effective results.
“Police and trading standards have gone off the beaten track to deal with this problem. It’s not just about the Castle Grounds and the town centres. They have looking for hidden dens.”