Campaign launched to cut back on the sale of cheap alcohol in Portsmouth

BACKING Howard Toms who runs the Spar shop on Fort Cumberland Road, Eastney, agrees with the campaign. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (133184-4)
BACKING Howard Toms who runs the Spar shop on Fort Cumberland Road, Eastney, agrees with the campaign. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (133184-4)

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OFF-licences and convenience stores are being asked to cut back on selling ‘super-strength’ drink, in a bid to cut back alcohol-related crime and health problems.

Portsmouth City Council is working with Hampshire Constabulary on a new scheme called ‘reducing the strength’ during Alcohol Awareness Week, which runs until Friday.

Stores are being asked to stop selling any beer or cider over 6.5 per cent in volume, not including premium products such as high-end ciders.

So far, 25 shops have agreed to take part in the scheme, including the Spar Eastney Convenience Store, in Fort Cumberland Road, Eastney.

Owner Howard Toms said he made the move to stop selling super-strength cheap alcohol a few years ago, and has never looked back.

He said: ‘We decided to stop a few years ago, because of the kind of people it was bringing in.

‘You can buy two litres of

White Lightning for £1.99 – it was very cheap.

‘But the customers were often aggressive, and that’s not what I wanted in my store.

‘I would urge people to back this campaign.

‘I’ve been here for more than 30 years, and each year alcohol sales have increased, so business-wise I haven’t been affected.

‘But it’s not just about that, it’s about the effects on the community.’

Under the initiative, if a store signs up, then its licence is changed to stop it from selling particular types of alcohol.

Bart Mackiewicz, owner of the Fajny Sklep stores in Portsmouth, said: ‘When I was first approached by the council to support this campaign, I immediately agreed, there was no question for me.

‘There can be quite a few problems with street drinkers and anti-social behaviour where my shops are, so I wanted to try and help to reduce this by taking the super-strength alcohol off my shelves.’

Alan Knobel, is the alcohol strategy coordinator at Portsmouth City Council.

He said: ‘This campaign is aiming to help make Portsmouth a safer and healthier place to live and work.

‘We are always working hard to reduce alcohol-related harm in the city and this initiative is a leap in the right direction.

‘The scheme was trialled in Ipswich, and there has been a 50 per cent reduction in crime associated with street drinking.’

For more information, visit saferportsmouth.org.uk

POLICE BACK THE BID

POLICE hope the new scheme will cut the amount of alcohol-related crime in Portsmouth.

Inspector Claire Taylor, of Hampshire Constabulary, said: ‘Drunk and disorderly remains a commonly-reported type of anti-social behaviour in Portsmouth.

‘Therefore, we’re taking further action to protect people from the harm caused by alcohol.

‘Frequent street drinkers put their own health at risk and can spoil the quality of life in the city for residents and visitors.

‘Our purpose is to persuade more off-licensees to stop selling certain types of super-strength alcohol at low prices.

‘I’d like to thank all those who have shown their support for the campaign so far. You are helping to make our city an even safer place.’

All of the stores taking part in the ‘reduce the strength’ campaign will display a window sticker showing that they are part of the initiative and will not sell alcohol over 6.5 per cent, excluding premium products.

Below is a list of stores that are already backing the scheme.

SCHEME COULD CUT ALCOHOL-RELATED HOSPITAL ADMISSIONS

RESTRICTING the sale of high-strength, low-cost beer and cider could reduce admissions to Queen Alexandra Hospital.

Dr Andrew Mortimore is the interim director of public health in Portsmouth.

He said: ‘It‘s estimated that alcohol misuse costs the NHS, criminal justice service and employers £74m annually in Portsmouth.

‘A significant part of this can be attributed to the availability of “super-strength” alcohol.

‘Also, Portsmouth’s hospital admissions due to alcohol are above the average for the UK.

‘These super-strength drinks can be extremely harmful to people’s health so we’re making a positive step for the community by minimising the accessibility of them.’

SIGNED UP TO THE SCHEME

· Copnor Mini Market, Copnor Road, Copnor

· Spar Eastney Convienience Store, Fort Cumberland Road, Eastney

· Handy Stores, Newcome Road, Kingston

· Fajny Sklep, Kingston Road, Kingston

· Fajny Sklep, Elm Grove, Southsea

· Spar, St Marys Road, Kingston

· Widley Express, Cosham High Street, Cosham

· Cosham Express, Cosham High Street, Cosham

· Jet Garage, Green Road, Southsea

· Victory Trophies, Kingston Road, Kingston

· Kwiki Mart Food and Tipple, Fawcett Road, Southsea

· Liqour Land, London Road, North End

· Rainbow Store, Albert Road, Southsea

· Kwiki Mart, Halstead Road, Wymering

· Kwiki Mart, Mablethorpe Road, Wymering

· Ajs Pantry, Allaway Avenue, Paulsgrove

· New Kwiki Mart, Hillsley Road, Paulsgrove

· New Kwiki Mart, 25 Albert Road, Southsea

· New Kwiki Mart, 111-113 Albert Road, Southsea

· New Kwiki Mart, London Road, Hilsea

· New Kwiki Mart, Kingston Road, Kingston

· New Kwiki Mart, Clarendon Road, Southsea

· New Kwiki Mart, Spur Road, Cosham

· New Kwiki Mart, Goldsmith Avenue, Southsea

· NISA, Portsmouth Road, Cosham.