Page last updated at 10:16 GMT, Thursday, 18 June 2009 11:16 UK

Underage drink 'tragedy' warning

Generic youth drinking in park
Youth drinking has been a long-running issue in the town

More than 20 drunk children were found in a single evening by police targeting underage drinking in Dumfries.

Among them was a 15-year-old girl who was found in Oakfield Brae unable to walk or talk.

She was attended to by an off duty police officer, before being taken to hospital by ambulance.

Ch Insp Alan Glendinning said he was concerned the level of youth drinking in the town was a "tragedy waiting to happen".

The weekend blitz by police and community workers found 22 drunk children, who will all be reported to the Children's Reporter, while a further 11 schoolchildren were found in the company of those with alcohol. The youngest of those detected was just 13.

The youngsters were breathalysed before being taken to the Oasis Youth Centre to be picked up by their parents.

The state in which we are finding these children means that there is simply no way parents will not be aware that their child has been drinking
Ch Insp Alan Glendinning

Adults were also found unconscious after drinking too much, while others were caught supplying alcohol to under-18s.

Ch Insp Glendinning said: "I am deeply concerned. This is going beyond even a sensible level of drinking. There is a tragedy just waiting to happen and it will ruin someone's life.

"It is shocking the level of intoxication some children are getting into and it saddens me that this is happening every single weekend.

"The real concern here is the child's health and the potential consequences of drinking too much. The legal age to drink is 18 for a reason.

"The state in which we are finding these children means that there is simply no way parents will not be aware that their child has been drinking. Some are slurring their words, have memory loss or can't stand."

The operation will continue over the summer months, while the council is to launch a summer youth programme aimed at diverting teenagers away from alcohol.



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