POLICE were forced to confiscate booze from almost a third of youths searched during a crackdown on antisocial behaviour in Portobello.
High-visibility patrols were ramped up in the seafront town last Saturday night after a mass brawl that started on the promenade the previous evening.
More than 60 young people were stopped and searched as part of the sting, with about 20 found with alcohol. Up to 40 litres of beer, cider and spirits was seized and disposed of. Those caught with booze have been issued with antisocial behaviour warning letters from police and the city council.
The patrols were run along Portobello High Street and Joppa Road, as well as the promenade. Sergeant Steven Bisset said patrols had been increased after members of the public reported youth-related disturbances. He said: “We are committed to tackling underage drinking and associated offences and were able to seize large quantities of drink from those under the age of 18.
“While we are delighted with the support we are receiving from local retailers in preventing youths buying alcohol, we believe a number of adults continue to assist underage drinking through the proxy purchase of alcohol. Friends, family members and other persons over the age of 18 are reminded that it is an offence to buy or supply anyone under-age with alcohol. Anyone found to be responsible will be dealt with appropriately.”
Officers also visited off licences in Portobello in the wake of last week’s community alcohol partnership [CAP] campaign launch.
Supermarket giants Scotmid Co-operative and Sainsbury’s are training other stores on responsible selling practices. Graeme Philip, store manager of Portobello’s new Scotmid, is leading the training.
A blacklist of underage drinkers and adults buying booze for youngsters is being shared by retailers.
The CAP campaign has also been launched in nearby Piershill – another known hot spot for street drinking.
One man had been arrested during last Friday’s riot after 15 officers and a police dog were called in to break up the
Police said youths had not been the only ones caught by their patrols, with alcohol taken off several adults aged 18 and over who were mixing with minors.
Portobello/Craigmillar ward Councillor Mike Bridgman said he supported the courts cracking down on adults caught supplying youngsters with alcohol. He said: “Responsible adults wouldn’t do it. It’s irresponsible people that are fuelling this.
“All I’d say is that I’d hope the judicial system would deal with them appropriately.”
• Two boys waiting for a bus in Clermiston Road North were were assaulted and robbed of their mobile phones around 7.55pm last night. One boy had facial injuries and the other was punched in the stomach. Police are appealing for information.