GANGS boozing in new drink-free zones in Middlewich could be moved on street-by-street until a blanket ban covers the whole of the town.
Police officers will soon be patrolling 43 known hotspots with a history of drink-related trouble which are to be made booze-free under new powers made available to Cheshire Constabulary.
Police will seize alcohol from anyone flouting the drinking ban, and louts who fail to comply will be arrested.
Despite councillors' wishes, strict guidelines mean the police can't yet call for an outright ban on all Middlewich's streets as they have to prove trouble in other areas was caused by alcohol before it can be included.
But if boozers continue to make a nuisance of themselves and decide to move to streets where they can still legally drink in public, alcohol could swiftly be banned from every street in Middlewich.
Congleton Borough Council has the power to declare problem roads booze-free under advice from police, and council chiefs believe the move would help to curb anti-social behaviour.
At Monday night's meeting of the borough council's executive group, members recommended that 'prohibition of alcohol in designated public places' should be approved. The ruling is expected to be rubber-stamped later this month.
The move has been welcomed by Fred Smith, licensee of the Cat's Bar, Wheelock Street, a member of Pubwatch and a Middlewich town councillor, who wants drinking in public spaces banned outright.
He said: 'If you stop people drinking in designated areas, they could just move along a bit, so I'm fully in support of a blanket ban - all the landlords in Middlewich are.
'This is a good way to keep booze off the streets. People aren't getting bottles and cans of alcohol in bars and pubs, they are buying them from the supermarkets and the off-licences to drink on the streets.
'There is no need to drink on street corners. Most pubs have a beer garden, so if people want to have a drink outdoors, they can.'
Police and council leaders expect to roll out the scheme in mid-April.