European city centre drinkers may be sent home
Out-of-work EU nationals caught drinking in Bristol city centre in the daytime could be sent home after police targeted the area this week.
This is the first time an operation of its kind has been run in Bristol and only the third time one has been run in the UK.
Earlier this week officers in Bristol mounted the joint one-day operation with the UK Borders Agency (UKBA) to target the EU nationals after complaints had been received from shoppers about them being drunk and intimidating.
The six people, who were served notices by UKBA, will have to attend immigration appointments at Bridewell Police Station.
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If they are unable to prove that they are either working or actively-seeking work they will be sent back to their county of origin in the next month.
PC Jeanette Cadden said: "We decided to run this operation because we'd been receiving a lot of complaints from members of the public and local businesses about people hanging round in the Bear-Pit drinking alcohol all day and committing thefts and general anti-social behaviour.
"The Bear Pit is right next to one of Bristol's main shopping areas and shoppers have told us it can be really intimidating to have to walk though the area when there are people there who are drunk and behaving badly.
"When we started to look closely at the people who were causing problems in the area we quickly realised that a number of these people were non-British nationals from other European countries who were out of work and spending their days drinking on the streets."
Following some specialist Immigration law training PC Cadden realised it was possible to remove EU nationals from the country under these circumstances and contacted the UK Borders Agency to arrange the operation.
PC Cadden said: "Bristol is a rich and culturally diverse city where we welcome people from all over the world. However, the tiny minority of people who come here and cause problems are less welcome and we will seek to remove them in operations such as this one."