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Crackdown on train drinking
A NEW crackdown on drunken misbehaviour in York is under way after it emerged that up to 5,000 north-easterners visit the city every Saturday to go drinking.
The drinkers, taking advantage of cheap day return train tickets, begin displaying signs of drunkenness by 11am and can be rowdy and cause antisocial behaviour and disorder, said a report to councillors.
Crime reduction manager Tanya Lyon said a raft of measures had been drawn up to tackle the problem, including:
• Two morning Transpennine Express trains from Middlesbrough to York to be made “dry” from this Saturday. Two evening services back to Middlesbrough are already dry
• The inclusion of the railway station in a new, expanded alcohol exclusion zone, where alcohol can be seized by police from anyone behaving in an antisocial manner
• A proposal by train operators to increase the price of Saturday tickets
• Cleveland Police to be asked to help out when travellers begin their journeys to York.
The “Street Angels” have also agreed to provide four volunteers from 4pm to 10pm on Saturdays when resources allow and give out bottles of water at the station.
Police horses are already being deployed on Saturdays, and there are plans for a poster campaign at York and other key stations further north. A draft code of conduct is also being drawn up, which will ask visitors to think about their behaviour and how it affects others.
A meeting of the community safety overview committee was told the city’s alcohol-exclusion zone could be extended to include specific reference to off-licensed premises, because of the growing number of city centre supermarkets and problems of customers buying alcohol in them and taking it into pubs and bars.
Drink banning orders could also be introduced in York to prevent antisocial individuals from entering specific premises or areas.
Councillors generally supported the moves, although Coun Ann Reid feared increasing rail ticket prices might deter family visitors as much as drinkers.
Coun Sandy Fraser said he feared the new exclusion zone, which will generally follow the city walls, would just displace the problem further out, and suggested Blossom Street, which had several budget hotels, should be included.
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