DRINKERS were cleared from the streets of Huddersfield.

And a police officer stressed cleaning up the streets of the town is a priority.

Sgt Mandy Mellor is the officer in charge of the town centre and organised an ‘engaging project’ to try to get street drinkers involved with life improvement groups.

Police roamed the town centre with representatives from housing organisations, Horton Housing and Stonham, and drug and alcohol services, Lifeline, On Track and the Kirklees Open Forum in search of street drinkers.

The group trawled St Peter’s Gardens, The Byram Arcade, Spring Grove and other drinking hotspots in the centre of town.

Sgt Mellor said: “This has been an ongoing problem.

“Street drinkers are bored, there’s nothing for them to do. We need to engage with them and really get to the root of the problem.”

Although on this exercise only three people were found to be drinking, Sgt Mellor said that on occasion there can be as many as 20 people congregating to drink.

The organised exercise follows complaints made by local businesses who have described the street drinkers as a ‘real problem’.

Yesterday, a couple who are regularly seen drinking in the town had their alcohol taken away from them and were escorted by police to drug and alcohol abuse centre Lifeline.

A Polish business administrator was found by police to be drinking a can of Special Brew at 11.20am and was reminded of the alcohol zoning laws.

Sgt Mellor said: “There is a No Public drinking zone within the confines of the ring road.

“We are having problems as there are several Polish people in the town centre who cannot understand that you can’t drink in these areas.”

Sharon Haymer, from Horton Housing, said: “We come out to these places and just talk to people and try and offer them some help.

“Yesterday I came across a homeless man who I hadn’t seen before, he’s new to the area and came here in hope of finding accommodation. He is a drinker.”

Sgt Mellor also praised The Basement Recovery Project in Calderdale which received a lottery grant this year.

She discussed designated premises with the agency representatives and suggested that it could help get people off the street and help businesses alike.

The group also visited the Mission cafe, attached to the Huddersfield Methodist Mission, Lord Street.

It offers a day shelter for the homeless and offers guidance on drinking and drug issues.

There is set to be another organised initiative in the next month.