Carry on camping
PUBLISHED: 01:01 21 February 2008 | UPDATED: 08:50 10 June 2010
YOUTHS partying and camping overnight in Budleigh Salterton's cliff-top Jubilee Fields could become a regular occurrence because the council is powerless to stop them. Recently, a group of under 18s some drinking alcohol under age spent the night ca
YOUTHS partying and camping overnight in Budleigh Salterton's cliff-top Jubilee Fields could become a regular occurrence - because the council is powerless to stop them.Recently, a group of under 18s - some drinking alcohol under age - spent the night camping on the public space - and sparked a police and coastguard search when one youth was thought to have fallen from the cliff.Some residents are concerned Jubilee Field could become a regular haunt for underage drinking and camping - and want such behaviour curbed before it gets out of hand.But the district council said it was up to individuals to report any underage drinking parties to the police - not the council - as it was unable to monitor the land.An East Devon District Council spokesman said: "This area is a public open space and, as such, it is not possible for the council to control everything that goes on there. If there is a public order or anti-social behaviour issue, this should be reported to the police, preferably at the time that the problem is going on."The recent camping and partying came to light after a 16-year-old was reported missing by his friends.The group believed the teenager, who had been drinking, had fallen over the cliff top after wandering off.Concerned for his safety, the youths contacted the emergency services - prompting the launch of the coastguard helicopter and a police search.It is believed the youths had got their alcohol from an 18-year-old Greenway Lane man. He was later issued with a fixed penalty notice by police.Budleigh Salterton mayor John Shiel said he did not condone underage drinking, but was unconcerned about the teenagers gathering in Jubilee Fields, adding it was normal behaviour for youths."Rightly or wrongly, they were underage drinking, but they noticed something was wrong and they sorted it out and phoned the police," said Cllr Shiel. "No-one would have known they were there if that idiot hadn't walked off - he is responsible."Councillor Ray Franklin added: "I agree with the district council. You can't control every piece of land. Kids will be kids. Hopefully, it was a one-off.