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Battle against the scourge of teenage drinking

PUBLISHED: 11:39 10 January 2008 | UPDATED: 14:40 07 September 2010

REPORTS of children as young as 12 drinking in public on the streets of Crouch End are a real cause for concern. The situation reached its zenith on New Year s Eve, when the area s community policing team received a raft of complaints about what they desc

REPORTS of children as young as 12 drinking in public on the streets of Crouch End are a real cause for concern. The situation reached its zenith on New Year's Eve, when the area's community policing team received a raft of complaints about what they describe as young people 'drinking to excess'.

Under the law they shouldn't have been drinking at all, of course, never mind 'drinking to excess'.

But it would be wrong to put the episode down to a case of high-spirited young people overdoing it on a special occasion. Teenage drinking is a worry everywhere, and the dark spaces around Hornsey Town Hall do seem to attract young drinkers. The sooner the long-standing issues over the future of the venue are resolved, the better.

Young drinkers can of course be easily found in nearby parks as well, but few people venture to these spaces on dark winter evenings and it becomes a case of out of sight, out of mind.

This is no longer the case around Crouch End's busiest streets, which in the past few years have become increasingly busy in the evenings thanks to more retail activity alongside the very welcome influx of some fine eateries and the perhaps less universally welcomed 'gastroisation' of some of the larger pubs.

However, pubs to their credit strictly enforce age limit regulations and there is no evidence that alcohol is any easier to obtain illegally in the area's supermarkets and off licences. But it is coming from somewhere and needless to say, anyone who is guilty of selling alcohol to under-age drinkers, or buying it on their behalf, deserves everything the law can throw at them.

Where this kind of abuse is allowed to go unchecked, other social problems inevitably follow and the local police team is right to be concerned. Indeed one of community police team leader Sgt John McGrath's New Year resolutions is to ''tackle this problem in Crouch End with particular vigour''. It would be inappropriate to say that we'll raise a glass to that, but certainly he and his team will have the full support of the concerned community as they set out to reverse this worrying trend.

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