A scheme aimed at getting shops to voluntarily stop selling super-strength booze has been extended to Haverhill.
‘Reducing the Strength’ had already been successfully trialed in Ipswich, and not police, along with St Edmundsbury Council have launched the scheme in the west of the county.
However, less than half of the town’s off licences have agreed to the scheme.
On Monday (February 3) the initiative was launched at Savers in Haverhill High Street, which is among the town’s eight off licence stores to take it up.
Nine Haverhill off licences and one in Clare have refused the code, though off licences in Thurlow, Kedington, Wikchambrook and one in Clare have all signed up.
Across the borough 34 off licences have joined.
Police class ‘super strength’ alcohol as cheap beer, lager or cider with an alcohol content of 6.5 per cent of higher, excluding wines, spirits and speciality beers.
In the year since the scheme began in Ipswich reports of street drinking have fallen by almost 100, and an area blighted by anti social behaviour has seen street drinking fall 73 per cent and crime drop 31 per cent.
Inspector Kevin Horton of the partnership team said: “This scheme has already reduced harm to individuals through abuse and reduced crime and anti social behaviour where alcohol is a contributory factor.”
Helen Lindfield, St Edmundsbury community safety officer, added: “Hopefully businesses will see they are not having issues (from not selling it) and more will sign up.”
Savers manager Marcus Hamill said: “We are trying to provide good wines and branded drinks for people to enjoy, not serve super strength alcohol.
“This also takes the pressure off staff having to refuse service to people who are drunk or underage.”
Cllr Sara Mildmay-White, St Edmundsbury cabinet member for health and wellbeing said: “There is only one reason to drink cheap super strength alcohol and that is to achieve a damaging level of intoxication.
“This isn’t just harmful to the individual, when it is done in a public place, it can be harmful to the wider community.
“I fully support this campaign and offer my thanks and appreciation to the off licence owners who are discriminating in stocking these products.”
Suffolk County Council, the NHS and the East of England Co-operative Society all support the move also.
The stores to have signed in Haverhill up are:
– B and B Stores, Chapple Drive
– Duddery Hill Service Station
– Europa, High Street
– Murco, Sturmer Road
– North Street Garages, Manor Road
– Premier Stores, Queen Street
– Primrose Mini Market, Primrose Hill
– Savers, High Street
The village stores to have signed up are:
– Clare Co-op
– Kedington Stores
– Thurlow Post Office
– Wickhambrook Premier Stores
– Barrow Stores
For all the latest news see today’s (Thursday, February 6) Echo.