RESIDENTS and shopkeepers have launched a petition to ban street drinkers from their area.

The petition, which is aiming to collect 1,000 signatures, was started by residents in Lowther Street, Penley Grove Street and Townend Street in The Groves last month.

Recently, a new Alcohol Restriction Zone (ARZ), was created which meant drinking on the streets within the city walls and at York railway station was prohibited, with early indications showing a drop in police call outs by almost 25 per cent, but those supporting the petition said the ARZ had forced street drinkers out of the city and into their area.

Gordon Campbell-Thomas is manager of the Its Donated charity shop in Lowther Street, and said more than 200 people had already signed the petition in the two weeks since it was started.

He said: "I was told by a number of shop keepers, some who have been in business for over 30 years, that the Groves area has deteriorated. The local community cannot put up with this any longer.

“Without the necessary legislation police are facing an uphill task. The city within the bar walls has been designated a 'No Alcohol Area' which gives police the right to confiscate alcohol from street drinkers, but the area around Lowther Street and adjoining streets is excluded, and due to the presence of the Arc Light hostel and cheap booze shops, there seems to be a rise in street drinking.

Jane Mowat, City of York Council’s Head of Community Safety, said: "The petition and its proposals will be considered in the same way we would any other similar request and, in the meantime, we are working with North Yorkshire Police to look at the situation in the Groves in more detail and in the light of the new ARZ."

Mr Campbell-Thomas said: "When we have a 1000 plus signatures we will call a public meeting to see what the Council is going to do in response to the peoples petition."

The petition is available to sign in shops around the area, and volunteers are wanted to take the petition door to door to help collect signatures. Anyone interested in taking part can contact Mr Campbell-Thomas at the Its Donated charity shop, or phone 07794706961.