Drink and drugs blitz working

Bill Alker, with Clitheroe Youth Centre manager Liz Pilkington and police community support officer Adam Mellor.
Bill Alker, with Clitheroe Youth Centre manager Liz Pilkington and police community support officer Adam Mellor.

UNDER-AGE drinking is being blitzed in a partnership project backed by Ribble Valley Borough Council.

The council has joined forces with the police, Young People’s Service, Trading Standards and off-licences to target hidden drink and drug dens, and highlight the risks of excessive drinking to the under-18s.

The project aims to deter young people from drink and drug use, particularly in the grounds of Clitheroe Castle, and the scheme has been so successful that it is to be rolled out to Longridge.

Over the past month police, youth workers and council officers have been searching out hidden venues for under-age drinking using intelligence from local residents. Areas that have been targeted include Clitheroe Castle, Brungerly Park, Salthill and Henthorn 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 asked to take them home. Off-licences and supermarkets have also been receiving test purchases from Trading Standards, and advised to be on the lookout for “proxy purchasing,” where adults buy alcohol for under-age drinkers.

Ribble Valley Borough Council’s community safety officer, Bill Alker, said: “A lot of work has gone into this project and we are pleased with the results.

“Forty youngsters involved in drink and drug-use in the grounds of Clitheroe Castle have already received intervention. Police, Trading Standards and the council have gone off the beaten track to deal with this problem, and we are hopeful of the project’s continued effectiveness.”