Huge hike in drinkers in need of help in South Shields town centre: Street Angels urge people to stay safe

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Revellers are being urged to stay safe in the run-up to Christmas amid fears people are putting themselves at risk by over drinking.

It comes as the number of town centre revellers seeking the help of a team of volunteers keeping people safe on a night out has doubled in the past two years.

June Valente is appealing for more people to become Street Angels

June Valente is appealing for more people to become Street Angels

The Street Angels was launched in 2012 in a bid to provide support to those in difficulty or who found themselves a little worse for wear through too much alcohol.

Figures show a rise in the number of people seeking their direct assistance on a Saturday night out, from 294 in 2014 to 480 last year.

Street Angels co-ordinator June Valente, who is keen to see more people volunteer their time with the cause, said: “Sometimes people are so intoxicated they don’t know where they live.

“One of our concerns is vulnerability around girls in particular as we have found them in alleyways. We had one girl a few weeks ago who was underage and wasn’t able to get into a club, but all her friends went in and left her. This was at 1am.”

Sometimes people are so intoxicated they don’t know where they live.

June Valente

As the festive season begins to take off, Mrs Valente is calling on people to drink responsibly and to ensure they know how they are getting home at the end of the night.

And Acting Neighbourhood Inspector Steve Prested said: “The Street Angels play an important role in keeping those enjoying a night out in the town centre safe.

“Street Angels work very well with the neighbourhood policing teams and are a great asset to the community, ensuring people stay safe and are looked after if they become vulnerable through excess alcohol. The caring presence of the volunteers also frees up officers to concentrate on preventing crime and any disorder.

“As revellers have become more aware of the Street Angels and how they can help, it is not surprising that more people are seeking out their help. Police advise anyone planning on heading out over the festive period of the need to stay safe, drink responsibly and ensure they have plans in advance to get home safely at the end of the night.

“South Shields is a safe town centre to live and socialise in and we want people to be able to come here and feel safe. To ensure this is the case, we have extra officers out speaking to people and anyone found causing any trouble will be dealt with swiftly and appropriately.”

For information on the Street Angels, call 07973470212 or email jav34s@outlook.com.