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To help police work out where youngsters in Shoebury are getting their alcohol from, off licences there will start giving it to customers in special bags - a different colour for each shop.
The idea's that if adults are buying it for kids - and the kids are later caught with one of these bags - it'll be easier for officers to investigate.
Pc Spencer Trueman, said: “The reason for this new carrier bag scheme is multi-faceted but the project has the overall aim of reducing alcohol-fuelled anti-social behaviour across Shoebury.
“If we come across kids carrying alcohol while we’re out on patrols, we’ll be able to tell by the colour of the carrier bag where they’ve got the drink from. We can then go back to the licensee and check their CCTV – if the underage person themselves hasn’t bought the alcohol then we can see who’s buying it for them and take necessary action.
“Asda and Co-op are the other licensees in the town but as their carrier bags are already recognisable, as they bear logos, we have not needed to include them in this scheme. However, they are fully aware and supportive of our drive to combat this problem in Shoebury.”
The carrier bag scheme was devised by Pc Trueman, along with fellow NSO Pc William Cheung and their supervisor, Sergeant Ian Hughes, after residents had highlighted a local problem with young people congregating in public areas, drinking alcohol and being a nuisance.
The project has the overall aim of reducing alcohol-fuelled anti-social behaviour across Shoebury.
Pc Spencer TruemanThe officers then met with other local agencies, and SMAART (Southend Multi-Agency Anti-social behaviour Response Team) agreed to fund the project, which has involved ordering 2,000 of each coloured bag.
Ghanshyam Patel is licensee of Longstaff News in West Road, Shoebury and he is pictured receiving his latest batch of silver carrier bags from Pc Trueman and Pc Cheung. He said: “We’re happy to work closely with police but as I close my shop at 8pm, I don’t see problems here. I think the carrier bag scheme is a really good idea and when I use the bags I always explain to the customer what they’re for.”
Shoebury residents are encouraged to contact police to discuss issues that affect them. The local neighbourhood policing team can be reached on 0300 3334444 or via the team’s mobile phone on 07710 086590.