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Last Updated: Monday, 11 February 2008, 21:13 GMT
Zero tolerance over street drinks
Police confiscating cans of beer in Plymouth
Police say gangs drinking on the streets increases the fear of crime
A zero tolerance operation is being operated by police against gangs of young people hanging around the streets, drinking and causing trouble.

Officers from Devon and Cornwall Police are confiscating alcohol and taking some children home to their parents.

The move has been warmly welcomed by residents in trouble spots who say the gangs make their life a misery.

In Plymouth, about 40 children and young teenagers were found drinking on the streets over the weekend.

Some of the children are believed to be as young as 12-years-old, although many give false ages to police.

Behaviour control

Hazel Pitt from Plymouth, told BBC News she is often afraid to leave her own home.

"I'm afraid to go outside the door or even go to a friend's house - I'm terrified," she said.

"I'm a widow and live on my own and they take advantage of it."

Insp Gary Neeves said there were significant issues surrounding young people and alcohol.

"It increases the fear of crime and from our experience, if we get in there early and seize the alcohol and start controlling that behaviour, then we have less problems later on at night," he said.

Devon and Cornwall Police said its zero-tolerance approach will continue throughout the force area.

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