Girl, 9, found drunk on vodka as North-East alcohol shame reaches new low

Durham County Council Neighbourhood Warden team leader Paul Rutherford with alcohol seized from four 14-year-olds in Stanley earlier this month.

Durham County Council Neighbourhood Warden team leader Paul Rutherford with alcohol seized from four 14-year-olds in Stanley earlier this month.

First published in News
Last updated
The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter (Derwentside & Tyneside)

POLICE issued a stark warning about the North-East's underage drinking epidemic last night after a nine-year-old girl needed hospital treatment for consuming vodka.

The youngster's parents called paramedics after finding their daughter "in a dazed state" after apparently drinking the spirit with two friends who were around the same age.

Medics immediately called police who have spoken to the family, following the incident in Leadgate, near Consett, County Durham, last month (Feb).

And officers revealed last night that the shocking incident is not unusual.

They say peer pressure is forcing young children to turn to alcohol in ever growing numbers.

In January, new figures revealed that the North-East has the country's highest percentage of 11 to 15 year-olds drinking alcohol.

The region also has double the national average of under-18s in treatment for drink-related problems.

Sergeant David Clarke, of Durham Constabulary, which is working to curb underage drinking in communities across County Durham, said: “Underage drinking is a severe problem with younger children drinking through peer pressure. It is a growing concern.”

Police in nearby Stanley are investigating an incident in which a 12-year-old was hospitalised for three consecutive weekends for alcohol-related injuries.

Earlier this month, a bottle of expensive gin, two bottles of schnapps, two bottles of sparkling wine and eight cans of cider were seized from four 14-year-old girls in Stanley.

Last year, police in County Durham and Darlington carried out a number of high profile operations targeting children. In Bishop Auckland, more than 30 underage drinkers were caught in one weekend, and in Darlington a large amount of alcohol was confiscated from school-leavers.

Similar operations have been launched in Cleveland.

As well as the harm to their health, police said young people are also risking their safety by taking part in pranks and making themselves vulnerable to sexual predators who exploit intoxicated teenagers.

Sgt Clarke said: “There is a very strong link between alcohol and sexual predators. It could just be people who find them in such a state or people who supply them with alcohol in return for sexual favours. It is used as a commodity.

“They are effectively being raped. Young girls are getting themselves filmed having sex with older guys. If they are drunk, they have no control. Then they are plastered all over the social media sites.”

It is illegal to take indecent pictures of anyone under the age of 18.

Sgt Clarke added: “There is one reason that older people are buying children alcohol and that is to take advantage of them.

“People who are buying alcohol for children should know that we will prosecute them and we will publicise their arrest.”

While boys are less likely to be the victims of sexual exploitation, police have warned they are more likely to be the victims of assault or injure themselves during drunken horseplay.

Sgt Clarke said: “Ten years ago you did not carry a video camera around but now everyone has one on their mobile phone.

“After a couple of drinks they want to film themselves, the stupider the better. They are putting themselves at risk.”

Police officers are working with PCSOs and Durham County Council’s Neighbourhood Wardens, which can also confiscate alcohol from underage drinkers, to patrol County Durham communities at weekends.

Colin Shevills, director of Balance, the North-East Alcohol Office, said drinking at an early age can lead to a range of health problems, short and long term.

He said: “It endangers the safety of children and young people, making them more vulnerable and increasing the likelihood of them becoming victims of crime, having unprotected sex, saying ‘yes’ to drugs and damaging their education and potentially their future.

“Here in the North-East we have the highest rate of under 18 alcohol specific hospital admissions and the highest rate of under 18s in alcohol treatment.

“Clearly pocket money prices, widespread availability and heavy marketing have established drinking as a social norm and it is having a harmful effect.”

Comments (10)

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7:51pm Sun 30 Mar 14

behonest says...

Colin Shevills jumping in with his usual 'pocket money prices' nonsense, is a clear reference to his minimum price tax obsession.

This article is about an illegal activity, and the authorities should take a targeted approach to tackle these crimes, not just hit the entire population with this absurd proposed new tax.
Colin Shevills jumping in with his usual 'pocket money prices' nonsense, is a clear reference to his minimum price tax obsession. This article is about an illegal activity, and the authorities should take a targeted approach to tackle these crimes, not just hit the entire population with this absurd proposed new tax. behonest
  • Score: 11

7:43am Mon 31 Mar 14

BuckoTheMoose says...

Balance is not ' The North East Alcohol Office', It's a taxpayer funded lobby group who are campaigning for prohibition.
Balance is not ' The North East Alcohol Office', It's a taxpayer funded lobby group who are campaigning for prohibition. BuckoTheMoose
  • Score: 2

1:15pm Mon 31 Mar 14

cushybutterfield says...

Be honest for decades alcohol consumption in the 'North East of England (and associated Criminal Anti-Social behaviour), can only be described as 'Drink Frenzy' on a ' Mega Scale'. Despite so called abject poverty on some Council estates (and some private), they drink like FISHES. It is a learned 'North East destructive alcohol' 'out of control' hardened culture and in some cases buying a 'Can of lager' is top priority and certainly more important than buying a LOAF of bread. I have seen so called deprived (should it not be depraved) so called hungry people walking the streets of the 'North East *****boozing at 9.OO AM'. Its about the only Country in Europe where people have got to get Mega-legless-irrespo
nsible drunk. How old ?.
Be honest for decades alcohol consumption in the 'North East of England (and associated Criminal Anti-Social behaviour), can only be described as 'Drink Frenzy' on a ' Mega Scale'. Despite so called abject poverty on some Council estates (and some private), they drink like FISHES. It is a learned 'North East destructive alcohol' 'out of control' hardened culture and in some cases buying a 'Can of lager' is top priority and certainly more important than buying a LOAF of bread. I have seen so called deprived (should it not be depraved) so called hungry people walking the streets of the 'North East *****boozing at 9.OO AM'. Its about the only Country in Europe where people have got to get Mega-legless-irrespo nsible drunk. How old ?. cushybutterfield
  • Score: 3

1:51pm Mon 31 Mar 14

Butafly says...

why can't kids enjoy their childhood while it lasts without wanting to grow up far too fast, I know some parents don't know half the stuff their kids get upto whilst out,but gawd sake these are only 9yrs old,,, either keeo more of an eye on your kids, or stop wetting them a bad example, too many kids these days see too much, most of them think drinking,smoking,tak
ing drugs,swearing,getti
ng into trouble,or whatever else is the right way to grow up, its only what they see, or try to be as cool as their mates.
why can't kids enjoy their childhood while it lasts without wanting to grow up far too fast, I know some parents don't know half the stuff their kids get upto whilst out,but gawd sake these are only 9yrs old,,, either keeo more of an eye on your kids, or stop wetting them a bad example, too many kids these days see too much, most of them think drinking,smoking,tak ing drugs,swearing,getti ng into trouble,or whatever else is the right way to grow up, its only what they see, or try to be as cool as their mates. Butafly
  • Score: 6

1:54pm Mon 31 Mar 14

Butafly says...

^^^ **** type errors lol
^^^ **** type errors lol Butafly
  • Score: -1

2:54pm Mon 31 Mar 14

MartinMo says...

Did not even read the full story, stopped at the insinuation that peer pressure drove 9 years to consume alcohol......what a load of ****. Sheer stupidity and lack of decent parental guidance lead this youngsters to be in possesion of alcohol. Then the same stupidity and lack of parental supervision gave them the oppertunity to consume it.

Parents should be held responsible for this and punished accordingly, escpecially if this was knowingly supllied to the kids.
Did not even read the full story, stopped at the insinuation that peer pressure drove 9 years to consume alcohol......what a load of ****. Sheer stupidity and lack of decent parental guidance lead this youngsters to be in possesion of alcohol. Then the same stupidity and lack of parental supervision gave them the oppertunity to consume it. Parents should be held responsible for this and punished accordingly, escpecially if this was knowingly supllied to the kids. MartinMo
  • Score: 17

11:08pm Mon 31 Mar 14

sophiejane says...

the problem is that parents are letting their children do whatever they want, they swear in front of them from a young age, they try to resolve issues by shouting at them which only results in them shouting and swearing back. there is no discipline, they let them play xbox and playstation games that they aren't old enough to play and they learn antisocial behaviour from them. The problem isn't with the children. its the fact that parents aren't allowed to discipline their children properly because its now wrong to give them a little smack for being naughty. naughty children get rewarded when they do something good, kids who are always good never get rewarded, they get forgotten about. why??. this society and generation is going down the drain and its the kids that are being blamed for it. bring back proper discipline.
the problem is that parents are letting their children do whatever they want, they swear in front of them from a young age, they try to resolve issues by shouting at them which only results in them shouting and swearing back. there is no discipline, they let them play xbox and playstation games that they aren't old enough to play and they learn antisocial behaviour from them. The problem isn't with the children. its the fact that parents aren't allowed to discipline their children properly because its now wrong to give them a little smack for being naughty. naughty children get rewarded when they do something good, kids who are always good never get rewarded, they get forgotten about. why??. this society and generation is going down the drain and its the kids that are being blamed for it. bring back proper discipline. sophiejane
  • Score: 11

5:33pm Tue 1 Apr 14

Copley23 says...

The parents want their darned backsides whupping.......a nine year old...left alone....thank god she didn't collapse altogether never to get up again. Then would the parents be charged, I hope so.
The parents want their darned backsides whupping.......a nine year old...left alone....thank god she didn't collapse altogether never to get up again. Then would the parents be charged, I hope so. Copley23
  • Score: 3

10:40pm Tue 1 Apr 14

cushybutterfield says...

The shocking appalling fact is that KIDS (Children) *****RULE the house because of pathetic weak shocking feckless parenting and they call it modern living, what a joke.
The shocking appalling fact is that KIDS (Children) *****RULE the house because of pathetic weak shocking feckless parenting and they call it modern living, what a joke. cushybutterfield
  • Score: 1

11:58am Wed 2 Apr 14

cushybutterfield says...

sohiejane, Spot on great comment, with a growing number of families nowadays' it is unmannered hyper-active 'learned anti-social behaviour. Even sitting around a meal table, eating a meal properly is a big deal. Do many ever switch OFF that 'brainwashing unsociable **Plasma Television set' ? and mobile phones., when having a meal which kills any meaningful conversation.. The days of 'real positive conversation around any meal table is virtually extinct' with many families, no social mores, no table manners. I saw a four year old child the other day with a *huge Pasty in his mouth, the pasty was nearly as big as the Childs Face. It also begs the questions ?,, despite numerous of cookery programmes, How many ?........... 2O to 3O year olds nowadays is there around that can actually 'cook a proper Sunday roast hot type dinner with proper vegetables', instead of 'boring unhealthy Pizzas and repeat quick fix beef burgers'. In fact some have difficulty *boiling an egg, yet most hardworking *Grandparents and Grandmothers knew how to regularly cook, were expert at it (self family taught then) and provide proper **healthy meals with very little money.
sohiejane, Spot on great comment, with a growing number of families nowadays' it is unmannered hyper-active 'learned anti-social behaviour. Even sitting around a meal table, eating a meal properly is a big deal. Do many ever switch OFF that 'brainwashing unsociable **Plasma Television set' ? and mobile phones., when having a meal which kills any meaningful conversation.. The days of 'real positive conversation around any meal table is virtually extinct' with many families, no social mores, no table manners. I saw a four year old child the other day with a *huge Pasty in his mouth, the pasty was nearly as big as the Childs Face. It also begs the questions ?,, despite numerous of cookery programmes, How many ?........... 2O to 3O year olds nowadays is there around that can actually 'cook a proper Sunday roast hot type dinner with proper vegetables', instead of 'boring unhealthy Pizzas and repeat quick fix beef burgers'. In fact some have difficulty *boiling an egg, yet most hardworking *Grandparents and Grandmothers knew how to regularly cook, were expert at it (self family taught then) and provide proper **healthy meals with very little money. cushybutterfield
  • Score: 1

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