A POLICE crackdown campaign against drugs and anti-social behaviour is extending to Lees after a successful first year in Uppermill.
‘Zero Zone’ was launched last November and centred on Uppermill, aiming to reduce drug use and drunken behaviour that has accompanied the village’s booming night trade.
After a successful 12 months, the scheme was re-launched on the High Street last November to ensure locals enjoy a safe night out, especially in the run up to Christmas.
Police, local licensees, councillors, community leaders and residents gathered at the Museum car park in Uppermill to hear about the progress of the scheme.
And the scheme is now also being expanded into Lees, where locals, supporters and licensees gathered for a launch at St Thomas’s Parade in December.
Eight new ‘ZeroZone’ signs have been placed at Chapter One, The Red Lion, Front House, The Swan, Oddies 79, Milan Bar, Angel Inn, and Legends to highlight the initiative.
PC Lee Cullen, from the Saddleworth and Lees Policing Team, said: “We can be quite Uppermill-centric as there is just more happening there.
“But we do not want to take our eye off the backdoor. A lot of people come into the area through Lees, and it’s another busy high street.
“We want to make this a community-wide approach to anti-social behaviour. So, we are going to offer the same sort of service here with regards to Zero Zone. We want no ASB, no drugs, no excuses.
“It’s not just bars and pubs, this zero tolerance extends to cafes and even shops and we’ve had a lot of support already from the community.
“We will be hard with those found breaking the rules, which will be enforced strongly through the Pub Watch scheme.
“Especially in these fiscal times it can be hard to get money to get projects up and running. But here in Saddleworth we have had a lot of support and we are very grateful for the donations we’ve received.”
Cllr Adrian Alexander, chair of the Saddleworth and Lees District Partnership which pledged money to the scheme, welcomed the initiative extending into Lees.
“I went to the launch in Uppermill and the scheme there is doing really well,” he said. “We do not want any anti-social behaviour or drug use anywhere in the community.”
“There are other problems apart from alcohol, like petty crime, but the police are doing a great job of stamping down on it,” added Cllr Alexander who is a former bouncer.
The scheme was also welcomed by local licensees, including Neil Taylor who runs Legends and Oddies 79 on the High Street.
“We’ve been at Legends for two years now and Oddies more recently, and we’ve given them a clean-up and made them a bit more upmarket,” he said.
“We’ve done our bit so we need the support of the community now to come and use the local businesses and do it respectfully.
“If everybody comes together, it will work. And we need you to support the local businesses or we are going to die out.”