STREET drinkers will be the focus of a £15,000 campaign in Colchester.

Colchester Council has released the money in order to fund an outreach worker to help get street drinkers off alcohol.

It comes after a nine-month pilot, which saw 22 alcohol dependant people use the April Centre, in Colne Bank Avenue, once a week between January and September 2012.

During that time, Essex Police recorded a reduction in petty crime, such as shoplifting.

The worker, which will be employed by the April Centre, will focus on drinkers who have had no previous contact with the centre or other services.

“Street drinking has been an ongoing problem for some time in Colchester,” said Tim Young, borough councillor responsible for community safety.

“The outreach programme will not work overnight.

“These people are hardened alcoholic dependent people and it will take more than one meet, but I’m encouraged by the results of the pilot in that crime was reduced, according to anecdotal evidence and these people were receiving help.”

Shirley Parnell, a general manager at the April Centre, in St Peter’s Street, said the money would come as a boost: “This will allow us to continue the good work which we were doing up until September.