Belfast Telegraph

Almost 300 drinkers flout Derry alcohol ban

By Brendan McDaid

Almost 300 people have been caught flouting a Londonderry-wide ban on street drinking in the past year — and most of those breaking the bylaws are children under the age of 18.

There have been a total of 284 seizures of alcohol in Derry from April 2011 to March 2012.

As a result, 160 young people aged 17 and under have been referred to youth diversion officers, while in a further 94 cases, adults have been referred to the City Council to be dealt with.

Derry City Council is tasked with enforcing the city-wide ban, introduced in 2009. Since it was enacted, the PSNI has reported people for street drinking to the local authority on 316 occasions.

A total of 112 formal cautions have been issued in that time and 76 people prosecuted.

The highest fine issued to date amounted to £185.

Derry City Council officers yesterday reiterated their promise to act against anyone caught ignoring the bylaws.

A spokeswoman said: “Following the recent good weather, there have been a number of reports of groups of adults and teenagers drinking alcohol in parks and open spaces across the Derry City Council area.

“Drinking on the streets in residential areas has caused significant disturbance and concern to local residents.

“Since the introduction of the bylaws, Derry City Council, in conjunction with its partner agencies, has carried out significant awareness raising to advise people about the revision of the bylaws.

“Anyone who consumes intoxicating liquor in a designated street or public place is in breach of the bylaw and therefore guilty of an offence.”

She said that when people are reported to Derry City Council for an alleged breach of the bylaws, consideration is made as to the appropriate action to be taken on an individual basis.

“If an individual is found guilty of an offence under the bylaws, the court can impose a maximum fine of up to £500,” she warned.

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