THIS is the haul of alcohol seized in just one evening in Hampshire police's latest crackdown on under-age drinking.

Up to 80 bottles and cans of beer and cider were taken from a gang of more than 50 youths gathered on a recreation ground on the Waterside.

Hythe police made three arrests for drink-related offences and carried out 16 stop and searches as part of the ongoing crackdown on booze.

Sgt Kev Gillespie led a team of ten officers in the operation which targeted the QE recreation ground off Hampton Lane in Blackfield.

He said he was surprised at the amount of alcohol confiscated. Most of it had come from adults, he said.

The seizures come after the Daily Echo launched a high-profile campaign to Keep Kids Sober.

The government is today launching its own hard-hitting campaign aimed at 18 to 24-year-olds.

Our campaign is encouraging adults and parents - as the main source of alcohol for younger children - to take a more active and responsible role in teaching kids about the consequences of alcohol and to think before supplying them with drink.

Sgt Gillespie of Hythe police said: "We want all adults including parents to be more responsible and to stop giving them booze full stop.

"Aside from the health issue it causes a lot of distress through the antisocial behaviour it causes and some elderly people fear for their lives."

Sgt Gillespie said criminal damage was a chief result of underage drinking, with cars a common target for drunken youths.

He said letters were sent to the parents of the 16 youths who were stopped and searched. They were aged between 13 and 17. Others just dumped their booze and fled when they saw police approaching.

He said when spoken to about their child's under-age drinking, either at home or the police station, most parents "did take it on board" but a minority didn't seem to care. He warned that every time someone under 18 was arrested social services were routinely informed.

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