Campaign to ban strong alcohol grows

Cllr Jay Kramer, Inspector Chris Veale, and Paul Stuart, Spar store manager
Cllr Jay Kramer, Inspector Chris Veale, and Paul Stuart, Spar store manager

A CAMPAIGN to ban off-licences selling strong alcohol has proved a success.

Hastings Borough Council, the police and other partners met last October to set up the Reduce the Strength initiative, a move as part of a clamp down on street drinkers following a petition by angry residents.

At the launch the council invited off-sales businesses from Central St Leonards, Castle and Old Hastings wards to participate in the new scheme and voluntarily agree an amendment to their licence preventing the sale of low priced, heavy duty beers, lagers and ciders with an alcohol volume content of more than 6.5 per cent.

Since October more than 31 off-licences have signed up to the campaign, with more following suit.

Councillor Jay Kramer, the council’s lead member for environment and safety, said: “The project went live on January 1 with 19 off-licence premises signing up in the three wards. Since then licensing staff from both Sussex Police and the council have continued to visit other premises in the area and have obtained further commitment to the project from retailers. We now have 31 premises signed up with more joining all the time. All the major supermarkets are supporting the project and already have internal policies in place to restrict the supply of high strength products to problematic drinkers.”

Chief inspector Paul Phelps, Hastings District Commander, said: “I am really pleased with the level of support that has been given by the licensed trade.

I am confident that this initiative will reduce anti-social behaviour and the impact of street drinking.”