‘We do care’: Thetford street drinkers clean up the town with litter-picks

The street drinkers who conducted a litter picking event in Thetford. Picture: Breckland Police

The street drinkers who conducted a litter picking event in Thetford. Picture: Breckland Police - Credit: Archant

A group of street drinkers from a Breckland town are hoping to show residents they care about the community by conducting regular litter picks.

King's Street in Thetford.
Picture: Sonya Duncan

King's Street in Thetford. Picture: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Thetford has had issues with anti-social behaviour and a number of people who drink alcohol in the town centre – which is prohibited.

MORE - Breckland communities will be consulted on legislation which will give more powers to tackle anti-social behaviour

Street drinker Tony Dowling said some people had no choice but to drink on the streets and said that did not mean they did not care.


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In an attempt to turn a negative into a positive he approached Breckland Police to organise a litter pick.

However the eight people who took part in the event on October 15 were wrongly thought to be doing community service and received negative feedback.

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Mr Dowling said: 'It is about getting a positive out of a negative thing. I think that people should stop looking down on people who have less than them and are stuck in a rut and stop judging these people.'

The 53-year-old said he believed street drinking could not be stopped but hoped getting together street drinkers, and the wider community, to meet regularly to help clean the town could have a positive impact.

The litter picks will also raise money for charity.

'I am a drinker and I don't pretend to be an angel', he said. 'There are a lot of people who can't afford to go in pubs to drink. You cannot stop it.

'I can pull people together because they do care, they really do. There are a lot of people out there who do care but they just cannot help themselves.'

Mr Dowling said a lot of the street drinkers did not like causing a nuisance on the streets.

He added: 'Not all drinkers are bad people. You cannot stop it but make good of a bad situation.'

At the end of October a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) will be introduced in the town which will give police more flexibility when dealing with anti-social behaviour.

MORE- New powers to tackle anti-social behaviour set to be introduced in Thetford

PC Amy Lucas, community engagement office with Breckland Police, said street drinking and anti-social behaviour in the town was a priority.

However she said it was pleasing the street drinkers were interacting with the police and hoped to gain a rapport with them.

She added: 'We hope they are thinking about the effect they are having on the community and take action to make less impact.'

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