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20 November 2013, 06:36
Shops in a Huntingdonshire town will stop selling super-strength alcohol, aiming to reduce anti-social behavior and violent crime.
The initiative, which has been successful in other places, aims to encourage local retailers to stop selling high-strength alcohol, and involves a community partnership of retailers, local police and licensing officers, and Huntingdonshire District Council's Safety team.
The campaign has been championed by Dr Arun Aggarwal, GP Lead for the Gainsborough Foundation, an alcohol recovery service based in Ramsey.
Huntingdonshire District Councillor Robin Howe, Executive Councillor for Healthy and Active Communities, said: "Alcohol, and particularly high-strength, low price alcohol, causes harm not only to those who are consuming it, but to a community as a whole.
"We are fortunate in that we do not have many street drinkers in Huntingdonshire, but we do have some and alcohol plays a big part in complaints of anti-social behaviour.
"Reductions in crime, disorder and anti-social behaviour have been seen in other parts of the country where retailers have worked together and stopped selling super strength alcohol in their stores.
"We are grateful to the retailers in Ramsey, Bury and Warboys who are supporting this initiative, and we hope that other areas across the district will follow quickly to adopt the same model so that soon these products will not be available in any off-licences in Huntingdonshire."
Dr Aggarwal says, "Ramsey is unusual but very lucky in having a hugely successful alcohol recovery service, the Gainsborough Foundation, for those already struggling with alcohol related problems. The service is available in half the medical centres in Huntingdonshire and it is hoped to expand it further in 2014."
Retailers that have agreed to a voluntary ban on selling beers, lagers and ciders over 6% strength include Ramsey Co-op, Sophies, High Street, Ramsey, Bury stores, Premier Stores on Field Road, Newsplus Spar on Gt Whyte, Ramsey St Mary's Convenience Store, Amar Stores in Warboys and Spar in Warboys.
Brands include Frosty Jacks, White Lightning, Tenants Super and Carlsberg Special Brew.
This ban has been shown to reduce anti-social behaviour in streets, and violence in young people. It also supports those who are addicted to super-strength beers and ciders.