December 10 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
It is a trailblazing campaign which has helped to rid two thirds of Ipswich’s off-licenses of super-strength booze.
And following the year anniversary of the launch of Reducing the Strength, the Ipswich Star now urges the frozen food shop Iceland to join the scheme.
The call follows an investigation by this newspaper which found just £10 was enough to buy bottles and cans of strong white cider, which came to a total of 60 units of alcohol, from the company’s premises in St Matthew’s Street.
It is recommended that men should not drink more than four units a day and women three – which means the drink we bought equates to at least 15 days of alcohol.
A spokeswoman for Iceland said the firm was not initially made aware of the scheme but licensing chiefs have since contacted them about it.
The spokeswoman could not confirm if action would be taken but said: “Iceland tries to provide our customers with a range of alcohol in store which is relevant and competitive. In comparison to the nearby competitors, Iceland carries a significantly smaller alcohol range.”
Suffolk police say they are extremely pleased with the results of Reducing the Strength and the effect that it has had, with 66% of off-licence premises backing it.
The force has described it as a fantastic achievement.
A spokeswoman added: “We still have a long way to go and will continue to work with our partners to engage with those retailers who are yet to come on board.”
A string of independent and national businesses have signed up to the scheme in Ipswich, which includes the East of England Co-op and McColl’s.
Roger Grosvenor, executive officer in retail for the East of England Co-op, said: “Since the campaign began a year ago we have seen nothing but positive outcomes. We have seen a decrease in anti-social behaviour in our stores, making colleagues feel safer at work.
“And our customers across Suffolk now have a much better shopping environment.”
A spokesman for McColl’s added: “McColl’s fully supports the ‘Reduce the Strength Campaign’ as we believe in working closely with the local police and the local licensing authorities.
Tesco has not officially signed up to the scheme but in a statement, the company said: “We are constantly reviewing the range of alcohol lines we sell and as a result we have removed products like high strength white cider from our shelves.”