October 23 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, July 17, 2014
A crackdown on the sale of low- price, super-strength alcohol is hoped to improve the “negative” view of Ilford town centre.
The Recorder visited the town’s off-licences and found that the majority sold single cans of super-strength drinks, containing more than 6.5 per cent alcohol.
Nine per cent lager was readily available and some retailers were selling 7.5pc and white cider for as little as 99p.
The council and police have teamed up in a effort to urge retailers not to stock the drinks, which are associated with street drinking and anti-social behaviour.
Cllr Ross Hatfull, Redbridge’s portfolio holder for community safety, said: “We really want residents to feel safe, to feel calm and to feel there are no anti-social behaviour problems.
“There’s been a big issue with street drinking and aggressive street drinking at times – it really is putting a negative view on the town centre.
“One of the things we have done, the council and the police, is go out to every business that sells alcohol in and around the town centre to try to get a voluntary agreement not to stock strong cheap alcohol.”
A single 500ml can of nine pc larger contains 4.5 units of alcohol, in excess of the recommended daily intake for a man.
One retailer told us that he was careful to refuse to sell alcohol to those who appear intoxicated. “If they look drunk I ask them, please leave,” said Salman Walcinkeya of Azad Food Centre in High Road.
“We try to protect the locals and give the best service we can to the public.”
Ilford town centre has been designated a cumulative impact zone, granting the council greater powers to combat sales of the drinks.
Any retailer applying for a licence to sell alcohol will be prevented from selling strong beer and cider while those with existing licences face having their opening hours cut if they are selling the products to people who appear drunk.
The move has received the backing of Redbridge Chamber of Commerce.
Chairman Geoff Hill said: “I think any measure that makes the town centre feel safer to people and actually makes it a more pleasant place to be is good for business and the residents of Redbridge.”
A spokesman for Redbridge Police said: “Super-strength alcohol is sold very cheaply and is often bought by young people or those with alcohol-dependency problems.
“Excessive consumption of these drinks can lead to health problems for the individual, make them vulnerable to various types of crime and lead to anti-social behaviour and community issues.
“Redbridge Police and the council hope that by highlighting the problems associated with the sale of this alcohol, the number of off-licence premises selling super-strength alcohol in Redbridge will be reduced.”