Street drinkers in Wisbech could be slapped with £75 fine as Fenland Council’s campaign moves into its next stage
- Credit: Archant
Time is running out for street drinkers in Wisbech as a five-week amnesty nears its conclusion.
For the last five weeks, anyone caught drinking in public has had their alcohol confiscated - but from Monday (December 4), drinkers could be slapped with a £75 fine as Fenland Council’s mission to clamp down on street drinking moves into its next phase.
The council began its battle with street drinking in October, introducing a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) which restricts public drinking in three areas identified as ‘hotspots’ - Tillery Fields, St Peter’s Church Gardens and the memorial garden at The Crescent.
And the PSPO looks to have had a successful start, with alcohol-related litter being reduced by 50 per cent in St Peter’s Church Gardens and council officers confiscating alcohol 14 times from the problem areas in five weeks.
But from next week the council will begin to come down harder on street drinkers and those caught could be handed a fixed penalty notice – something Councillor David Oliver, the council’s cabinet member for community safety, hopes will help rid the town of problem drinking.
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He said: “We had an initial period of education to let people know that the PSPO had been implemented, and how it would impact on their behaviour, and we are really pleased with the effect of the new powers so far.
“From December 4 we will begin enforcing the order; with officers having the option of issuing a Fixed Penalty Notice to anyone caught breaching the new rules.
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“We will continue to offer help and support via a number of agencies to those who need it, however, we will take action against the small minority who continue to behave in an anti-social manner.
“We will also monitor the order to ensure the problem is not dispersed elsewhere. It’s a great start though and shows what we can do when we all work together.”
The PSPO, which will come under review next year, was approved by the council on the same day that Emneth man Jamie Cook presented his anti-street drinking petition to full council.
Mr Cook’s petition took over 2,200 signatures in just three weeks in a speech, he claimed that street drinking was affecting the elderly and vulnerable in Wisbech and called on the council to take action “that people are crying out for”.