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Drink culture blamed for yob problem

A HEADTEACHER claims a 'drink culture' could be partly responsible for the anti-social behaviour which plagues Middlewich.

A HEADTEACHER claims a 'drink culture' could be partly responsible for the anti-social behaviour which plagues Middlewich.

Speaking at a meeting called by Newton Residents' Association to discuss problems with nuisance youths, Middle- wich High School headteacher David Lythgoe warned teenagers as young as 12 and 13 were drinking alcohol.

Mr Lythgoe said the vast majority of his pupils were impeccably behaved, but called on townsfolk to put pressure on off-licences to stop the small percentage of underage drinkers getting their hands on booze.

He told the meeting, at Bembridge Court, on Friday: 'A lot of the problems are caused by drink.

'There is a culture that you have a drink on a Friday night -­ and that's true from the age of 12 and 13 sometimes.

'We have a very small, tight-knit community. We can approach the police to cut off the supply of drink.

'But we can also lobby shop keepers to make sure they don't sell drink to minors.'

Mr Lythgoe added: 'Our role as a school is to teach children how to behave and 95% of the pupils support what we are about and behave impeccably.

'I'm very proud of Middlewich High School and it hurts when people categorise all pupils as the same when the vast majority of young people's behaviour is terrific.'

The meeting was called after residents complained about problems with youths in the park near to the high school. Some elderly residents say they have been verbally abused and even threatened by teenage gangs.

Residents' association chairman Bill Blunn said he had approached youths on the park to find out their side of the story. He said: 'Anti-social behaviour is on the increase. I had a good talk with the youths.

A lot of them made a lot of sense and a handful didn't. But the majority said they didn't want to drink and they wanted a club they could go to.'

One shopkeeper, who asked not to be named, admitted youths were getting hold of drink, but added: 'Under-age drinkers don't get served here, but sometimes adults buy it for them and there is nothing shopkeepers can do about that.'

Youth worker Merle Ikin agreed there is a drink culture among young people in Middlewich. She said: 'It's not just the young people who need to be educated about the dangers of drink, but others in the community too.'


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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