MEASURES are being taken to stop binge drinking in Middlesbrough, named the first town in the region to take part in a new Government pilot scheme.

Twenty zones across England and Wales are being set up as Local Alcohol Action Areas (LAAAs) to combat drink-fuelled crime and disorder and the damage caused to health.

According to the Middlesbrough Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy 2010- 2013, the misuse of alcohol has a huge impact on the town.

“Alcohol related-harm in the borough are among the highest in the country,” it said.

“Both adults and young people are more likely to be admitted to hospital for alcohol related harm than in most other areas. Drinking is a major cause of crime and disorder and thousands of children are living with a parent with an alcohol problem.”

Local probation service assessments from 2008/2009 showed that alcohol was a contributory factor in offending for 74 per cent of those who committed criminal damage, 63 per cent of violent offenders and 23 per cent of burglary offenders.

No details about exactly how the LAAA will be rolled out have yet been revealed.

Edward Kunonga, Director of Public Health at Middlesbrough Council, said it would provide an opportunity for multi-agency working to improve the health and well-being of the Middlesbrough population.

“Reducing alcohol-related harm is a local priority as it affects the health and well-being of individuals, families, community and the wider population.”

“Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner, Barry Coppinger, added: “We continually work with our partners to drive down alcohol-related violence which is a constant strain on policing resources, particularly in domestic incidents and also within the night time economy.

“We don’t want to see our area blighted by alcohol-fuelled violence and want residents to be able to enjoy an evening out without it being marred by alcohol-related offending.”