Norwich man an ‘habitual drunkard’

Paul Stephenson. Submitted

Paul Stephenson. Submitted - Credit: Archant

Police in Norwich are using 19th century legislation to target people who continue to cause alcohol-fuelled anti-social behaviour.

The first 'habitual drunkard' order to be handed out in the city for decades was given to Paul Stephenson, of William Kett Close.

It means that pubs and off-licences in the city centre are banned from selling alcohol to the 57-year-old for three years.

Stephenson appeared at the city's magistrates' court this week and pleaded guilty to being drunk and disorderly on August 16 in Riverside Road. Stephenson, who was declared an 'habitual drunkard', was also fined £40 and ordered to pay costs of £80.

Police said that anyone who is convicted of being drunk on a highway, drunk and disorderly or drunk and incapable (from the Inebriates Act 1898) on three occasions over a 12-month period can subsequently be declared an 'habitual drunkard' by magistrates under the Licensing Act 1902.

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If the order is breached, the individual will be arrested and put before the court, and the licensed premises that sold the alcohol will also be identified and tackled. They could potentially lose their licence if they are persistent offenders.

The action comes as police in Norfolk raise awareness of the realities of dealing with drunkenness and the detrimental impact this can have on communities as part of the 'ACPO In Focus: Alcohol Harm' week.

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Norwich policing commander Superintendent Dave Marshall said: 'These orders give us the opportunity to target the small minority of people who cause problems for the wider community because they have been drinking alcohol.'

During the summer, officers in the city centre stepped up patrols in street drinking hotspots, including Elm Hill, Quayside and Castle Gardens. The crackdown has seen more than 600 cans and bottles of booze seized from street and underage drinkers.

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