A new campaign encouraging stores in Ipswich to stop selling low-cost, super-strong lager and cider is being watched closely by other police forces to see if it cuts crime.

So far, half of the off-licences in the Suffolk town have agreed not to stock cheap drinks with an alcohol content of more than 6.5%.

Inspector Andrew Mason, from Suffolk Police, said: ?Sixty percent of our violent crime in Ipswich is driven by alcohol ? and it?s similar numbers for anti-social behaviour.

?It?s not just street drinkers I?m worrying about. It?s young people ?14 and 15-year-olds. We are regularly seizing these products from them.?

Action is being taken following the murders of four street drinkers in Ipswich in the past three years.

The campaign is also being backed by local councils and the NHS.

Last year there were 1.2 million hospital admissions in the UK due to alcohol misuse. The overall cost to society is put at ?17bn to ?22bn a year.

Lisa Pennock, 39, used to down three litres of super-strength cider and five cans of 9% lager every single day. It had a major impact on her health.

?I was drinking absolutely 24/7. I used to even wake up in the night and have at least an hour-and-a-half of strong lager before I could go back to sleep again.

?I used to get really bad shakes, my heart used to beat so fast I was actually so scared to go back to sleep in case I didn?t wake up.?

Ms Pennock?s addiction destroyed her marriage. She walked out on her children and ended up homeless. Now she is rebuilding her life with the support of local charities Norcas and the Anglia Care Trust, which has found her a flat.

She fully supports the campaign to get cheap, high-percentage alcohol off shop shelves.

Tesco, the East of England Co-op and McColl newsagents are among larger stores to have signed up alongside small independent shop owners like Nayna Patel.

She said: ?I have seen how many problems there are for people and the fights when they drink too much.?

However, without a complete ban there will still be places to buy lager containing 10% alcohol for not much more than ?1.

And that, say street drinkers Mark and Katie, is the problem.

?This is the most that?s going to happen, the price is going to go up. That is it,? said Mark, who drinks in Ipswich town centre every day.

?And then that will cause more crime,? added his girlfriend Katie. ?Because people won?t be able to afford it, they are going to start to thieve it.?

The campaign was launched this week but the police have already had calls from other forces wanting to find out more.

Source : Sky News


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.