THE streets of a Hampshire town centre could be alcohol-free within three months.

The booze exclusion zone in Eastleigh would include the main shopping streets, the indoor Swan Centre, Leigh Road Recreation Ground and public car parks.

It would give police power to confiscate alcohol from anyone found drinking within the area or to issue £50 on-the-spot fines to those who refuse to stop.

Civic chiefs have been prompted to act by an increasing number of boozedup fights and cases of antisocial behaviour, drunken revellers throwing up and urinating in public, and empty bottles and cans littering streets and parks.

Town centre pub Home Tavern had its late licence removed after a mass brawl that spilled out into the streets in December.

The notorious Earth Club and Bar was closed in September last year after police received more than 140 incidents of trouble.

Eastleigh will be following in the footsteps of several other Hampshire towns – including Farehamand Romsey – if an alcoholfree zone was established.

Information about the proposed alcohol ban will be sent to 350 nearby homes and businesses as the council tries to gauge public opinion.

Charles Stone, who runs a business in the area, called for a ban earlier this year.

He said: “Every summer my wife and I have run the gauntlet of abuse and threats in the recreation area from drunken people. Having this order would be a great advertisement for the centre.”

Councillor Chris Thomas said no action would be taken until residents and businesses had had a chance to have their say.

He said: “The council is aware of concerns about antisocial behaviour fuelled by alcohol.

“One way of addressing what can be a distressing problem for many people is to designate an area where drinking in public places is prohibited and this could be introduced by January 2009.”

Det Chief Insp Diana Boyles told the Daily Echo that the police would look at the problems in Eastleigh town centre to see whether an alcohol- free zone would make a difference.

She said that the force would support it if there was evidence that adults drinking on the streets was causing problems in the area.