AN OPERATION to target street drinkers launched in Weymouth today.

Under Operation Bear, officers will target people drinking alcohol in the town centre and on the seafront after calls made by members of the public and businesses in the town reporting an increase in anti-social behaviour.

It is the second time police have increased patrols in the area after a similar blitz on drunks in August, which resulted in eight arrests, 22 dispersal orders handed out by police and 60 street drinkers moved on.

The initiative will last two weeks, with more officers patrolling the streets.

Weymouth police have also said they will target people sleeping rough in the area, but will help signpost them to the relative agencies so they can get the help needed for them.

PCSO Dave Hill, who will be part of the operation, said police had reintroduced the drive following the success of it in August.

He said: “August is a busy part of the year in the town anyway and that operation went well.

“We have introduced it again because we have noticed a rise in street drinkers and the amount of people sleeping rough so we are doing these patrols to target that.

“A lot of people said the last time we did this in August it improved the area and the Esplanade. People like to enjoy that area without feeling intimidated or threatened so it’s important we undertake operations like this.

“We do a lot of work with other agencies to help these individuals, especially those who are sleeping rough.

“It’s not just arresting them or moving them on, we can signpost them to the relevant agencies because a lot of them need support.

“We are constantly working with other agencies, such as the local council, to improve the town and also to offer support to individuals who might need help, especially with the winter approaching.

“The more people we can help the better and we are hoping for similar success as to what we had last time.”

Keith Treggiden, chairman of Weymouth Pubwatch and manager of Rendezvous, said he was hoping for an improvement during and following the drive.

Mr Treggiden said: “The footfall in August was too high to be able to notice any major improvement.

“At the most recent meeting of Pubwatch, a number of people said there were still a lot of people drinking outside the train station and I think that needs to be looked at.

“I’m hoping it will have a better impact than it did last time.

“There are a lot of people who bring alcohol to the town and sit on the harbour wall and drink, which affects my business and doesn’t paint the best picture of the town.

“I can police my customers but I can’t police the others.”