EXCLUSIVE: Cookstown tops for underage drinking

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Over three quarters of all incidents of underage drinking detected in F district in the last three years, have occurred in Cookstown.

According to statistics obtained by this paper from the PSNI, 89 per cent of all incidents recorded for F district, which also includes Dungannon, Omagh and Fermanagh, took place in Cookstown.

The figures also reveal that F district have had six times more incidents of underage drinking recorded in the last three years than G district, which includes Magherafelt, Foyle, Strabane and Limavady.

From 2012-2014, a total of 46 young people were detected for underage drinking in F district, meanwhile 7 young people were detected in the same period in G district.

The offences covered by these figures inclde Simple Drunk, Being Drunk in licenced premises and Drunkenness in a registered Club.

A PSNI spokesperson said: “F District strive to ensure that licencing laws are complied with across the District. They work closely with licencees but if young people are detected drinking they are dealt with by using different methods of disposal not just prosecution.”

Speaking about thee figures, local organistaion TIPSA who provide alcohol and other drugs education and prevention services in the area said: “While it is concerning that Cookstown appears to have such a high proportion of underage drinking offences as compared to other areas, it should be remembered that the town is a social and entertainment hub that attracts individuals from all ages and many other areas at weekends, and obviously where so many people are gathered, numbers of detected offences are going to be higher.

“TIPSA has been working closely with the PSNI in relation to underage drinkers, having run a pilot scheme just before Christmas, where a number of young people who came to the attention of the police due to alcohol met with TIPSA staff and officers. These young people were from different towns and some had to travel quite a considerable distance to come along and discuss the potential impact of underage alcohol use both from a health and a legal perspective. We continue to work with young people, parents, carers and other youth providers to tackle underage drinking and encourages anyone with any concerns to contact us on 028 8676 3388, check out the website ( www.tipsa.co.uk ) or find us on Facebook”