Street drinking still a problem in town centre

Police and councillors want to tackle the drink problem on the streets of Castleford.
Police and councillors want to tackle the drink problem on the streets of Castleford.

Plans for a new off licence in Castleford town centre have been rejected after police said they are still dealing with street drinkers on a daily basis.

A public spaces protection order (PSPO) was put in place last year to stop anti-social behaviour and drink related crime in the town centre.

But , officers say they are still tackling the issue and opposed Sofar Hussein’s application to sell alcohol from his Eastern European Mini Market on Albion Street.

Wakefield Council’s licensing officers were also against the application.

Speaking at a licensing sub committee on Monday, PC Toby Warden, from West Yorkshire Police said: “Probably the most worrying part of our visit (to speak to Mr Hussein about the application) was when we asked him about the area and the (PSPO) he was at a bit of a loss to explain what it actually was.

“It’s obviously been put there for a reason – to try and deal with this issue. The visit has left police with little confidence.”

Councillors were shown CCTV clips of police confronting street drinkers near the mini market.

Paul Dean, licence enforcement officer at Wakefield Council, said: “It’s not just the area around Albion Street and Aire Street that’s the problem. It’s wider than that. It’s a massive area with a massive problem. “Mr Hussein is from Doncaster. He’s seen there’s a good market for a Polish shop in Castleford. There’s five such mini-markets already in the area. Why do we need six?”

Asked by a committee member if the problems were still a “daily occurrence”, PC Warden replied, “Yes”.

Licensing agent Geoffrey Dixon said his client, Mr Hussein had no responsibility for goings on outside the shop. Mr Hussein’s application, was rejected with the commitee stating that they did not have “appropriate confidence” in him meeting the requirements of the licence.