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Page last updated at 06:17 GMT, Tuesday, 29 June 2010 07:17 UK
Newquay clamps down following death of Berkshire teen
Police could confiscate alcohol from Berkshire teenagers.

For decades making the trip from Berkshire to Cornwall following GCSEs has become a rite of passage for teenagers.

But last year, GCSE celebrations turned to sadness when Paddy Higgins, of Winnersh, Berkshire, died on 6 July after falling from a Cornish cliff.

The 16-year-old had been with friends and was celebrating the end of his GCSEs.

Tests showed he was three times over the legal drink-drive limit.

A second teenager, Andrew Curwell, had also died in a similar incidents just days before Paddy.

Now as teenagers descend on the Cornish resort of Newquay after finishing their exams, they will find shop and pub owners getting tougher on underage drinking.

Following a demonstration last by local people calling for change, police, the local authority, pub and club owners and campsites came up with Newquay Safe.

In a test of the new measures nearly four weeks ago, two 15-year-old Bristol girls were sent home from Newquay after being found drunk and unaccompanied.

The town is still relatively quiet at the moment, so the real test will come at the height of the holiday season when the town's population of 20,000 swells to 120,000.

Paddy Higgins's father, John, said that they would only know if the new restrictions had worked after the season and in the years after.

He said he had had 'reservations' about Paddy's holiday in Newquay.

"I had some reservations of course, because inevitably it's the first time away from home," he said. "His elder step-brother had been there the same place a few years before and everything had been ok.

"Paddy was generally speaking a very responsible young man, well behaved and I basically did trust him.

"I expected him to try and have a beer, much as I would have done at the same age. I certainly didn't expect him to get so much as has now become apparent. I certainly didn't expect him to go to a restaurant at 16 and be served Sambucas."

John said that he was 'convinced' that Paddy's drinking played a part in his son's accident.

"It's something you live with every day and it doesn't in that sense get any easier," he said.

He said that young people should be responsible for themselves, parents should be responsible for their children and make sure that the resorts that they were travelling to were acting responsibly.

"One of my big bugbears about this is the restaurant that sold Paddy that alcohol," he said.

This year, licensed premises in Newquay have agreed not to sell alcohol to anyone who looks under 18 without a passport or driving licence.

Police will be welcoming teenagers arriving in the town with sniffer-dog searches and any alcohol found on under-age people will be confiscated.

Councillors from the area have also been talking to pupils at schools around the country, urging them to "be responsible and be safe".

In addition youth workers at campsites will offer offer advice to teenagers who are transported to and from the town by a special bus service so they can attend venues which offer alcohol-free events.

But Guy Thomas, Newquay town centre manager, said parents should not be expect the authorities to be chaperones.

Teenagers found drunk and unaccompanied may be sent home or their parents asked to come and collect them.

Open verdict on boy's cliff fall
28 Jun 10 |  Cornwall
Safety bid after boy's cliff fall
21 Jan 10 |  Berkshire
Boycott urged after student death
09 Jul 09 |  England
Tributes paid to cliff death boy
08 Jul 09 |  England


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