STREET drinkers face hefty fines in the Groves thanks to a new anti-booze order brought in by the council.

A "Public Space Protection Order" authorised by a senior councillor yesterday means that police or council officers can ask people caught on the streets of the Groves to stop drinking - and can hit them with a £100 fine if they refuse. Street drinkers can also be prosecuted for refusing to hand over their booze when asked.

Cllr David Carr, City of York Council's executive member for safer neighbourhoods, rubber-stamped the order on Monday after an 18 month-long campaign by angry residents.

A petition was first started calling for the streets to become an alcohol free zone in spring 2014, and it was presented to the council in March this year, but council workers had to go through a series of consultations before the order could be made.

Gordon Campbell-Thomas, who runs a charity shop in the area, said the decision was very welcome among local businesses and residents who were sick of intimidation and anti-social behaviour on the streets.

He said: "Just walking from Lowther Street to Penley's Grove Street through the snickets, a distance of about 300 yards, I saw 15 or 16 beer cans plus two bottles. It's out of order.

"It's not just the drinking but the behaviour that goes with it - swearing and intimidation in front of residents and even small children."

The community would play its part in enforcing the ban, he added.

However, the council's assistant director for community safety Steve Waddington stressed that the new rules were not there to give people criminal records.

At the decision session on Monday when Cllr Carr approved the PSPO, Mr Waddington said: "The aim of the order is not about giving people criminal records. It's about modifying behaviour and addressing the problem. It won't always be that a breach of the PSPO results in criminal proceedings, or court proceedings."

Cllr Carr followed council staff advice to go for the highest penalty possible and set £100 as the fine that will be levied on offenders.

Similar orders are already in place in the city centre, and various other parts of the city.