PAUL O’BRIEN: Time to sort out the street drinking problem in sunny Worthing

Paul O'Brien
Paul O'Brien

I do try my hardest to keep my columns about Worthing upbeat and positive.

We are extremely lucky to live and work in a wonderful part of the country, and the future investment and infrastructure of the town means we are on a golden dawn for our little corner of green and pleasant land.

However, a serious debate needs to be held about the growing level of street drinkers that are now causing huge troubles for not only the towns traders, but also our shoppers.

I can only feel the upmost sorrow for people who have to live on the streets – it must be a terrible situation and we must help those Worthingers that fall on hard times.

However, over the past few years we have had a massive influx of street drinkers from other parts of the country who have no link to our town at all, given free train tickets by other councils to our shore to rid their town of the problem.

Worthing has now become a soft spot for anyone wanting to spend their day in the town centre drinking themselves into a stupor and then terrorising the local community.

In the past week alone I have personally witnessed several shop thefts, open drug dealing and taking in the town centre, people using the town as an open toilet, fights, abuse and pretty much everything in between, by a group of ten to 15 hard core individuals who insist on sitting in the town drinking all day.

Our police, when called, will turn up, pour away the one drink they have and then disappear.

The group will then simply open another or go buy more.

Our officers have become far too pally with this group.

I’ve spoken to shopkeepers who are in fear to speak out because of reprisals, and I’ve even spoken to some who wished they hadn’t opened in the town.

The message from many traders is clear – those shops that are selling alcohol to known street drinkers are letting the rest of us down massively.

To the police who are not doing enough, we need better protection before we become overrun with even more of a problem.

Worthing is a lovely place that relies heavily on tourism and the locals to keep us afloat.

Please don’t let a small group ruin the town for everyone else.