A SCARBOROUGH businesswoman has said underage drinking in the town is of growing concern after a break-in at her store.
Three girls under the age of 16 allegedly gained entry to North Bay Gifts at around 3am on Thursday last week.
After smashing through the door they allegedly attempted to take various low-value items including soft toys and fishing nets, which were returned when police caught the apparently drunk youngsters inside the store.
Shop owner Dawn Jackson was still faced with a £400 repair bill after being woken up in the early hours and called to the store to deal with the incident.
She had to remain at the shop until 6am.
“I was told they were paralytic,” she said. “They’re just kids. For girls their age to be out at 3am is just not on.
“I think at that age the parents should know where their children are. I think the police do their best but their hands are tied.
“None of their parents have been in touch with us. I’ve been in business for years and in days gone by it used to be the case that if anybody had stolen anything their parents would come and see you and make them apologise.”
Dawn was alerted to the incident when a burglar alarm went off. When she got to the shop police were already on the scene and the girls had been arrested.
The break-in follows news that children as young as 11 were treated at Scarborough Hospital’s accident and emergency department for alcohol poisoning last year.
Dawn said that she has seen a significant rise in underage drinking in recent years and that the problem is now worse than ever in Scarborough.
“There is a lot of drinking in the north side in particular and it’s all young people,” she said.
“I know the people in the flats at The Sands hate it and the crazy golf place has problems. They are getting alcohol from somewhere.”
A police spokesman said: “Officers from North Yorkshire Police arrested three local girls following the report of a break-in at a shop at just after 3am on Thursday June 2.
“All three girls were interviewed before being released on bail.”
A series of measures aimed at tackling underage drinking in Scarborough have been taken by The Cambridge Centre, on behalf of North Yorkshire County Council.
Youth outreach workers patrol Scarborough’s streets on Friday nights and at other busy times of the year.
Alternative entertainment, such as arts, dance and music classes, are also offered on Friday nights.
Funding for a young women’s alcohol worker has recently been secured from Comic Relief.