Police split up 50 teenage drinkers

PUBLISHED: 13:54 15 March 2007 | UPDATED: 10:14 31 May 2010

GANGS of under-age drinkers congregating in Saffron Walden and surrounding villages had to be dealt with by police on Friday night. Up to 50 youngsters aged between 14 and 17 years gathered on The Common before heading into the Market Square area of Saffr

GANGS of under-age drinkers congregating in Saffron Walden and surrounding villages had to be dealt with by police on Friday night.

Up to 50 youngsters aged between 14 and 17 years gathered on The Common before heading into the Market Square area of Saffron Walden, where police met them and confiscated a significant amount of alcohol.

Saffron Walden Sgt Paul Glasgow: "It is unusual to have such large numbers of youths gathering like this, particularly as there was no event taking place in Saffron Walden that they were all attending.

"I would urge parents to know where their children are and what they are getting up to, and take responsibility."

Several complaints were received by police between 8pm and midnight on Friday night, from people in Saffron Walden, Newport and Great Chesterford.

There were also reports of large numbers of teenagers intimidating people with their numbers at Great Chesterford Railway Station.

However, they were not acting in a threatening way.

Sgt Glasgow said police were called to the station at about midnight, where they discovered that the youngsters had stolen a fire extinguisher from a train.

He said: "We are investigating the source of the alcohol, which may have been purchased by the youths or brought out from their homes.

"Anyone providing alcohol to people under the age of 18, whether it's a shop, or an individual buying it for them, should know they will definitely be prosecuted."

Two of the teenagers were driven back to their homes by police, who were keen to disband the congregation.

However, the alcohol-fuelled gathering of teenagers did not cause any significant trouble.

Sgt Glasgow said: "I expected us to receive reports of criminal damage from the public on Saturday morning, such as wing mirrors having been kicked off, but fortunately we did not learn of any such incidents at all."

Elaine Culling, clerk of Great Chesterford Parish Council, said that there was a lot on offer for children in the village and that she did not believe the village had a particular problem with underage drinking.

"Unfortunately we have had occasional problems with drinking, generally with underage children, but its not something that's common," she said.

"We have a youth club on Friday evenings, and a number of sports clubs open to youngsters during the week.

"A lot is provided, and we get a good response.

I certainly don't think that under-age drinking is a significant problem in Great Chesterford.

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