Booze ban on the way

AN ALCOHOL free zone could soon be brought in around Cheddar s streets and parks in a bid to stamp out antisocial behaviour

AN ALCOHOL free zone could soon be set up around Cheddar’s streets and parks in a bid to stamp out antisocial behaviour.

Police are cracking down on drinkers after numerous complaints of vandalism and troublesome behaviour in the village.

Once the zone is active, police officers will be able to seize alcohol and arrest anyone who refuses to hand over their booze.

The initiative has already been used successfully in Burnham and Weston and police officers are optimistic it will have the same effect in Cheddar.

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The roads and areas suggested for the scheme are Station Road, Saxon Way, Market Cross, Cliff Street, Daghole, Hannah More Park, Sharpham Road Playing Fields, Roynon Way, The Bays and possibly Cheddar Gorge.

Police sergeant Ian Kennett said: “The main aim is to reduce antisocial behaviour and stop people drinking alcohol on the streets.

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“It will not be an offence to drink on the streets if the person is aged 18 or over, but if a police officer wants to take alcohol from someone and they refuse, they can be arrested. It is the refusal that is the offence.

“Anyone under-age who has alcohol can have it seized straight away.”

Sedgemoor district and Cheddar parish councillor Jeff Savage said: “This problem has been in Cheddar for a long time now, with both drinking and the vandalism associated with it.

“I would fully support a trial run for three or six months. If it was successful I would whole-heartedly support the scheme. The only concern I have is that if we make certain areas alcohol free, this may push the problem somewhere else.”

“People might think they cannot drink in Cheddar so they will go to Axbridge instead, which we definitely don’t want to see.”

According to the Avon and Somerset Police website, the scheme is being given serious consideration due to an increase in under-age drinking and adults supplying youngsters with alcohol. Police indicators show a significant rise in antisocial behaviour, criminal damage and assaults.

Cheddar Local Action Team chairman Jill Male said: “Children as young as 13 are already drinking. Something needs to be done soon.”

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