Underage drink figures are high

Craigavon has one of the highest numbers of underage drinkers in Northern Ireland according to statistics just published.

A total of 24 children have been found drinking by police over the past two years, the youngest of whom was just 13 years old.

Police found more than 350 children drinking, possessing or buying alcohol over the past two years, according to statistics.

Campaigners called for stricter regulation of alcohol promotions while police urged parents to be aware of what their children are doing.

Suzanne Costello, of Alcohol Action Ireland, said, “While an increase of more than 20 per cent in reports of underage drinking is certainly worrying, the reality is that reports to the PSNI only represent the tip of the iceberg.”

On average, UK children have their first alcoholic drink at 13 and, by just over 14, hundreds have been drunk for the first time. A survey of 15 and 16-year-olds carried out by the Drinkaware Trust revealed that 60 per cent regard drinking as a normal part of growing up.