DAVID Cameron’s pledge to tackle the “scandal of public drunkenness” has been applauded by a Bournemouth councillor who has consistently campaigned for tough action.

The Prime Minister yesterday hit out at the “reckless” behaviour of an “irresponsible” minority and said that alcohol-related costs to society were now between £17billion and £22billion a year.

Cllr David Smith, Bournemouth cabinet member for communities, has long been an advocate of harsher penalties for binge drinkers and the establishments who serve them.

He said he would support a cost recovery system, a meaningful late-night levy on night-time economy businesses and any attempt to stop off-licences and supermarket selling alcohol as loss leaders.

“I’ve always felt it unfair that a drunken reveller could end up in hospital or a police cell, costing the taxpayer hundreds of pounds, yet walk away with a £50 fine,” he said.

“David Cameron’s views are long overdue. I would like to see drunks charged for the problems they cause in hospitals and police stations and I fully support the minimum pricing of alcohol for sale in off-licences.”

Visiting a hospital in the north east of England, Mr Cameron said: “Over the last decade we’ve seen a frightening growth in the number of people – many under-age – who think it’s acceptable for people to get drunk in public in ways that wreck lives, spread fear and increase crime.

“This is one of the scandals of our society and I am determined to deal with it.”