Vow to crack down on street drinking
WINCANTON'S newest bobby on the beat has vowed to come down hard on those flouting the town's no alcohol zone.
Police community support officer Jan Sparkes has become the Wincanton neighbourhood beat team's newest addition following her transfer from the Ilchester beat at the end of August.
She has already thrown herself into her new beat by tackling one of the town's biggest gripes.
Mrs Sparkes said the town council had made her aware that a number of residents were concerned that the town's no drinking zone was being ignored.
FREE home energy survey - BEAT THE ENERGY PRICE CRUNCH!View details
Call us on 01271 323309 and book your FREE home energy survey during December. Let us help you reduce your energy bills as well as your carbon footprint.
Valid until 20th Dec 2013
Consultation is completely free
No obligation and impartial advice
Contact: 01271 440974
Valid until: Friday, December 20 2013
She said: "We have also had quite a lot of complaints from the town maintenance team that they have found lots of drink cans around the rec and the cricket grounds when carrying out their work.
"We all patrol around that area already and if we do see anyone with alcohol within the no drink zone we deal with the situation."
Wincanton's no drinking zone covers the greater part of the town, including the recreation ground, cemetery, play ground and churchyard as well as Mill Street, the high street, South Street and the town's car parks on Carrington Way and Balsam Park.
Those found to be drinking alcohol within the zone could face a £500 fine or conviction if they do not hand over the alcohol to police when requested.
Mrs Sparkes said that the problem was not limited just to underage drinkers ignoring the no alcohol zone.
She added: "You do sometimes get pockets of youngsters and they might have a can of cider tucked under their hoody or under the bench. In the past PCSOs haven't been able to do much about that."
But Mrs Sparkes is amongst a handful of PCSOs across the force to have completed new training that gives support officers greater powers to deal with crime.
She said: "Now we are able to search bags and outer clothing as well as detain offenders."
Wincanton neighbourhood beat sergeant Dean Hamilton said Mrs Sparkes was a very welcome addition to the neighbourhood beat team.
He said: "She is settling in very well, and people in the town find her very approachable."
PCSO Sparkes added: "I am starting to get to know people in the town now, but I'm sure it's just the tip of the iceberg."