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Drunken yobs in High Street facing £50 penalty fines

The alcohol control zone
The alcohol control zone

Beer-swilling yobs staggering down Sittingbourne High Street will be a thing of the past now an alcohol control zone has been set up.

Police say the control will “make a huge difference to the local community”.

The designated public place order came into force last Friday and means police now have powers to confiscate alcohol from people drinking in a public area where nuisance or annoyance to members of the public or a section of the public is caused or disorder takes place, associated with the consumption of alcohol.

Anyone ignoring the order will be slapped with a fixed penalty fine of £50.

Before the order, Swale Borough Council took into consideration the views of town and parish councils, the public, local organisations, businesses and licensed premises.

Police backed the move, claiming extra powers to move problem drinkers on was essential to stop rising levels of drink-related crime.

Problem hot spots include Albany Road, South Avenue, Sittingbourne Railway Station, The Forum shopping centre and St Michael’s Churchyard.

The order does not make it an offence to drink alcohol in a designated public place for law-abiding citizens. But failure to comply with a police officer’s requirements in respect of public drinking or handing over alcohol without reasonable excuse, is now an arrestable offence or punishable by a fixed penalty notice.

Sittingbourne town centre PC Jason Hedges said: “I believe this control zone is just what the town needs.

“We’re not here to spoil people’s fun but to clamp down on anti-social behaviour caused by excessive drinking.

“We only arrested two people over the entire weekend for being drunk and disorderly.

“This just proves the message is getting through.

“We want people to enjoy coming to Sittingbourne and experiencing all the town has to offer without being confronted by intoxicated individuals in the street.”

Swale Borough Council’s community safety officer Charlotte Hudson said: “It is vital that all visitors, residents and businesses are able to enjoy the benefits of a vibrant town centre without having to endure the disorder or behaviour of people who, due to alcohol, are the worse for wear.

“This new initiative will ensure that this is the case.”

uE06E What do you think? Are you a trader affected by drunken people in the High Street or have you had nights out ruined by someone who has drunk too much?

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