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Crackdown Promised on Booze Fuelled Trouble

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7:01am 21st January 2014

It is claimed almost half of violence in Cornwall and Devon is being fuelled by booze.

The southwest Police and Crime Commissioner warns that makes us one of the worst places in the country for it.

Tony Hogg from Helston says the bill to clear up is costing £366m a year for the two counties.

Now he is writing to supermarkets and off-licences urging them to help make it harder to get hold of super-strength alcohol and inviting them to a round table discussion.
 
Mr Hogg said: “It is important that I bring supermarkets and retailers together. I know they are all committed to being a valued part of the local communities they serve, and therefore I am keen that they can develop a sensible strategy which will benefit all of us.”    
 
Among the issues that Mr Hogg wants to discuss are changes to drinking patterns and the easy availability of low cost and super strength alcohol and the considerable impact this makes on ‘pre-loading’.
 
Tony Hogg said: “Devon and Cornwall has higher than expected levels of violent crime.  In fact we are consistently among the 10 worst areas in the country per head of population. I am concerned about crime levels and the role that alcohol plays in offending. This is particularly the case for crimes such as violence, sexual offences, public order and criminal damage and for alcohol fuelled antisocial behaviour.”  
 
“I am determined to make a real impact in this regard, and I am hoping for a positive response from supermarkets and retailers. I will be disappointed and worried if some do not accept my invitation to meet with me in the coming weeks.”

Darren Easterbrook's the manager at Iceland in Camborne. It has already stripped cheap and high-strength booze from the shelves: "We've had less street drinkers come in, they still inevitably are going to come in, but we've seen a lot less. Local crime has come down. Litter has decreased.

"The sales were down. We lost a good 10% of alcohol sales. But the bigger picture is that eventually the sales will level out and people also feel safer. You benefit from the local environment of customers coming in feeling safer."

7:01am 21st January 2014

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