A CRACKDOWN on underage and irresponsible drinking is proving a big success, according to senior police officers.

Four weeks into the eight-week campaign, police have visited more than 600 pubs, clubs, bars, off-licences, supermarkets and convenience stores across the eastern area of North Yorkshire, which stretches from Bedale to Scarborough.

Twenty five underage drinkers have had alcohol confiscated and disposed of, and one convenience store licensee was found selling alcohol to an underage customer.

In total, 40 people have been arrested for public order or drunkenness offences and 31 people received fixed penalty notices for drink-related offences.

Eastern area commander, Chief Supt David Short said: "The campaign is proving a big success in the way it is raising everyone's awareness of the dangers of irresponsible drinking and of the effect it has on communities.

"Police officers, working with trading standards, local authorities and the licensed trade, have made many visits to licensed premises and it is most pleasing to see that only one licensee has had to be warned for serving people who are underage.

"We will continue with the initiative and, while it is too early to comment on the impact of the campaign on the levels of violent crime, it is clearly going to be an important first step on that road."

Yesterday, the focus switched to Hambleton, with three licensees being visited by representatives from the police, the fire service and Hambleton District Council.

Licensing officer, PC Kevin Suffield said: "Most of the alcohol industry acts responsibly, but with this campaign we are putting across a clear message - if you sell to underage drinkers, if you promote irresponsible drinking, you're not going to get away with it and you will be prosecuted."