Launch of campaign to ban strong alcohol

Reduce the Strength partners and signed up representatives from Turners and Penbuckles Delicatessen
Reduce the Strength partners and signed up representatives from Turners and Penbuckles Delicatessen

A CAMPAIGN banning off-licences from selling strong alcohol has been launched.

Hastings Borough Council, the police and other partners met on Friday (October 18) to set up the Reduce the Strength initiative.

The move is part of a clamp down on street drinkers following a petition by angry residents.

The council invited more than 30 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.

Four had previously signed up and a further 11 did so on the day of the launch at the town hall.

Larger businesses in the town including Sainsbury’s and Iceland have also agreed to support the campaign.

Similar schemes already operate in Dover and Ipswich.

Last month John Knowles, who lives in central St Leonards, set up an e-petition in protest at street drinking, which attracted more than 120 signatures.

Cllr Jay Kramer, the council’s lead member for environment and safety, said: “It was very encouraging to see so many businesses represented at the launch event and even better that so many have already signed up to the scheme.

“We believe in the importance of preventative measures so the restriction of alcohol sales over 6.5 per cent and the commitment from partners to work together will hopefully achieve good results.

“We are absolutely determined to continue our robust stand on dealing with street drinking and alcohol-related crime, and to make Hastings an even better place to live, work and visit.”

Chief Inspector Paul Phelps, Hastings District Commander, said: “We welcome this initiative as we regularly seize 10 per cent of alcohol from street drinkers.

“When businesses stop selling alcohol over 6.5 per cent users will be encouraged to reduce the strength of alcohol being bought and used.

“Working together we will be able to raise the standards of the town, creating a better environment for all.”