Warning over boozing in public

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Derry’s public is being warned that anyone caught drinking alcohol in public places faces a fine of up to £500..

Derry City Council issued the alert following reports of a surge in alcohol consumption by both adults and children in parks and public spaces in the city during the recent sunny spell.

The local authority enacted new bye-laws in 2009 which prohibit the drinking of alcohol in all streets and public places in the city council area. In the last 12 months the PSNI seized 284 items containing alcohol from people drinking in public places. A total of 160 items were seized from drinkers under the age of 18 while 94 were seized from drinkers over 18.

The number of reports for street drinking by PSNI since new bye-laws were enacted was 316 while 112 cautions were signed and 76 Summonses issued.

A spokesperson for Derry City Council said that recent drinking in public spaces had led to “anti-social behaviour and crime that has affected the lives of numerous residents, spoiling their enjoyment of the weather and of our local parks and open spaces”.

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

The spokesperson added that: “It is now timely to remind all residents and visitors that Derry City Council have had bye-laws prohibiting street drinking. Anyone who consumes intoxicating liquor in a designated street or public place is in breach of the bye-law and therefore guilty of an offence. Council is committed to identifying those who breach the bye-laws and the PSNI will report adults who are found consuming alcohol in designated streets and public places to Derry City Council. Children (under the age of 18) who are found to be consuming alcohol in streets and public places will be referred by PSNI to the youth diversion officers and any alcohol in their possession will be removed by the police.”

An individual found guilty of an offence under the bye-laws, is subject to a maximum fine of up to £500.

A full list of the streets and public places covered by the bye-laws is available at www.derrycity.gov.uk/Council-Services/City-Secretary-and-Solicitors/Legal-Services/Bye-laws