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Kids booze party shock

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Kids booze party shock thumbnailThe bottle of cider which was taken off a 14 year-old child by police officers in Tandragee at the weekend

Tandragee police remove alcohol from 14 year-old child .

 

CHILDREN are being "bused in" from Portadown to Tandragee so they can congregate at outdoor underage drinking dens, a senior PSNI officer has warned.

The stark warning comes as officers seized a two-litre bottle of cider from a 14-year-old girl in the town at the weekend.

Youngers are getting lifts, or coming to Tandragee via bus, for the sole purpose of engaging in underage drinking. Reports that some parents are even dropping off their children in the knowledge they have alcohol with them were, however, dismissed by Inspector Quinn, who said there was "no evidence" of this.

"But I would remind parents that they have an important role to play and dealing with these issues should not be solely down to the police," he added.

Underage drinking appears to be an increasing problem in County Armagh, with deadly consequences. In May a 15 year-old teenager was found unconscious in Portadown woodland - known to be an area where young people congregate to drink and take drugs - and subsequently died later in hospital in what is believed to have been a drug-related incident.

And just last month drink bottles were smashed over play equipment at Tandragee Recreation Centre - which has has been a "hot spot" for anti-social behaviour - in a vandalism attack that resulted in a 2k-3k repair bill for rate-payers.

Police are now stepping up their appeal to parents and guardians to ensure their children do not engage in illegal drinking.

"Alcohol is a key driver towards assault, sexual offences and anti-social behaviour which the police take very seriously," said Inspector Quinn.

"It is the parents' responsibility to ensure they know where their children are; the police should be the last ones called upon to make interventions around young people drinking." Inspector Quinn stressed, however, that if young people are caught with alcohol it will be seized and often the young person will be taken by officers to their parents.

"It is illegal to drink underage - as is the supply of alcohol to underage children - and where we can we will investigate where children have been able to obtain alcohol," he warned.

Inspector Quinn underlined his desire to work with young people and keep them safe.

"Young people need to be aware that what starts out as some fun can lead to wider issues which can have implications for their future prospects," he added.

He also stressed that the issues in Tandragee are not unique to the town and underage drinking can be a problem in other towns across the borough.

His comments were echoed by Cusher Councillor Paul Berry, who stressed underage drinking is a "problem across our community. Everybody; parents, schools and communities have a role in dealing with underage drinking and anti-social behaviour.

"We must all work together in order to combat this problem," he said.

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