A SCHEME to tackle concerns about underage drinking and associated anti-social behaviour has been launched in Penarth.

South Wales Police have been working with Community Alcohol Partnership (CAP) to kick-start the initiative, setting up the Penarth Community Alcohol Partnership on May 9, in the Paget Rooms, Penarth.

They aim to reduce alcohol sales to youngsters, advise on the dangers of drinking and provide activities through youth services and local charities.

The first meeting was attended by representatives from South Wales Police, CAP, South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, Safer Vale Partnership, Vale of Glamorgan Council, Penarth Town Council, Cardiff and Vale Health Board, The Switched On Team, St Cyres School, Stanwell School and local licensees.

Following reports of groups of young people drinking in the town centre, Penarth police officers carried out surveys with local schools and residents.

They found 15 per cent of 16 and 17-year-olds surveyed had never consumed alcohol and 20 per cent said they drank alcohol at least once a week. Twenty per cent of residents surveyed saw young people drinking every week in the centre of Penarth.

Chief Inspector for the Vale of Glamorgan Tony Williams said: “The introduction of the CAP will complement the work already undertaken by officers and partners, and hopefully will be a great example of police and agencies working together to reduce anti-social behaviour and make our communities better places to live, work and visit.

“At this time of year with pupils finishing their GCSEs, we tend to see an increase in underage drinking and I would urge local parents to help by making sure they know where their teenagers are in the evenings.

“As well as patrols, seizing alcohol and taking action against teenagers who persistently drink alcohol, we are investigating where they get alcohol so that we can take further action if necessary. Adults found buying alcohol for under 18s can be fined and risk further prosecution. Licensed premises can also be fined and may lose licences.”