Retailer feeling heat from Reducing the Strength campaign

04 October, 2013

A shop that is refusing to join the Reducing the Strength campaign in Ipswich said it is being unfairly blamed for antisocial behaviour and vowed to continue selling strong beer and cider.

Suffolk Police hailed the campaign a success and said the number of identified street drinkers has dropped from 78 to 38 since September 2012, when retailers voluntarily stripped shelves of beer and cider at 6.5% abv and above.

It added that the number of antisocial “incidents of concern” dropped from 191 to 94 for the first six months of the scheme, compared to the same period the previous year.

The success of the Ipswich campaign has prompted other councils across the UK to adopt similar schemes.

Two-thirds of Ipswich’s off-licences have now signed up, but some are still reluctant to do so.

Jordan Saggers, who works at the Granspen off-licence on St Matthew’s Street in the town, told OLN: “We feel that we are being blamed for a lot of the unsociable behaviour around here but it’s not us selling these beers that is causing the problems.

“We don’t serve anyone who is intoxicated or under-age or anyone we see drinking in the streets outside.”

He added: “Even the shops which don’t sell super-strength still sell spirits, which have a lot higher alcohol content, so it doesn’t make sense.”

Saggers is aware of the campaign and said the store would like more support so that it could consider signing up.

“The council and police haven’t supported us. They said they would remove the benches from outside the shop to stop people drinking and lingering here but they haven’t.

“Instead they are trying to ban us from selling all types of beer,” he said.

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