Action to block under-age drinking in town

UNDER-AGE drinkers in Weston were the targets of a police operation in the town centre. The team was joined by North Somerset licensing officers and Weston & Somerset Mercury reporter Emma Wright to combat illegal drinking for Operation Joined Up. Newly

UNDER-AGE drinkers in Weston were the targets of a police operation in the town centre. The team was joined by North Somerset licensing officers and Weston & Somerset Mercury reporter Emma Wright to combat illegal drinking for Operation Joined Up. Newly appointed deputy chief constable Rob Beckley said: "The sort of operations carried out in Weston is a model for other police authorities. The town has some unique issues and can be a bit schizophrenic. "During the day the town is a nice seaside resort, but at night alcohol can change all that. It is vital that we work in partnership with the licence holders but some are just out for financial gain."The first part of the operation was to clamp down on adults buying alcohol for under 18s. In the second part, the two teams visited town centre pubs and clubs to interview under-age drinkers and talk to licence holders to make sure they were asking for identification. DCC Beckley joined the local police force after leaving his role as assistant chief constable in Herefordshire. He went to school in Bristol and did some summer work in Weston over 25 years ago. He said: "The town has changed quite a bit since then." During the first part of the evening, plain-clothed police officers seized several bottles of alcohol from youths in Clevedon and Worle High Street and took beer from youngsters drinking on Weston beach worth more than £100. In the second part of the operation, PC Karl Waltho, who is an alcohol and violence officer and his team toured around pubs and bars in Weston to tackle under-age drinking. The first bar targeted was Wild Coyote (formerly Route 66) in St Margarets Terrace. The police team checked CCTV footage while the North Somerset licensing team spoke to the bar's supervisor. PC Waltho said: "The licence was not properly displayed and the fire exit was locked and obstructed. We will be following this up with a meeting during the day to check that changes have been made. For now the managers have been given a formal warning, but if these sorts of offences are repeated we do take legal action."Each youngster was interviewed on police camera by PC Sean McCreadie. The team then visited Xclusive in Richmond Street, where eight under-age drinkers were found on the premises. PC Waltho said: "We interviewed all the under-age drinkers and took their details. Four of them were aged 16 and the youngest was aged 15, so this was obviously a concern. We will be keeping an eye on the situation."Officers also did spot checks at Club Vision, Sands, Seven and BS23. Both the police and council officers were satisfied with them. The team will be continuing with spot checks in Weston and will take legal action against the premises that give cause for concern.


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