‘The problem isn’t teenage discos - it’s what happens before them’ says resident

TEENAGE drinkers are “loading up” on drink before entering underage discos, according to a Cookstown resident.

The problem is so severe that local people living in-and-around underage drinking ‘hotspots’ in the town are calling for police to step up patrols and prosecute those involved.

“The problem isn’t teenage discos, it is what is going on before them,” the resident told the MAIL.

“The young people are able to get drink from off-licences, and I have witnessed this myself, by getting older ones to go in for them. They get the drink and they head off to a car park, lane way, even a cemetery, and pre-load on drink before heading to a disco.”

The Cookstown local was responding to last week’s Mid-Ulster Mail feature ‘The MAIL goes on-the-beat with Cookstown PSNI’.

We reported on how the PSNI and local nightclub Sense dealt with the volume of 13-17 year-olds travelling to the town to attend the disco. We described how nightclub door staff breathalysed youngsters suspected of taking alcohol and barred any from entry who tested positive for alcohol.

“The teenage discos and the immediate area around those discos do not show the problem, the problem is the satellite area - the car parks, the lanes, the hedge ways, where the drinking goes on.

“That’s where you will be able to see how bad it can get for residents who have to put up with the rowdiness, the abuse, the broken bottles and litter,” they said.

“It is common place around Cookstown, especially in the Westland Road, Drumcree, Fortview areas. Residents here have sat and watched as young ones totter up with bags of drink.”

“We have seen them get violent, abuse people and get absolutely paralytic.”

The fed-up resident continued: “This behaviour may not happen every time there is a teenage disco on, but it happens most of the time. Instead of observing the teenagers going in and out of the discos, what should really be observed and reported on is the areas that some of them go to drink before they attempt to get into wherever they are going.”

“We believe that prosecutions need to start happening to put an end to this problem, along with more patrols in those areas.”

Have you the same problem in your area? Contact the Mid-Ulster Mail on (028) 867 62288.