Plymouth shops 'may be asked to not sell super-strength alcohol'

Bottle of cheap alcohol The move would look at the sales of super-strength beer, lager and cider

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Shops and pubs in parts of Plymouth may be asked to stop selling cheap super-strength alcohol, a police chief said.

Devon and Cornwall Police city commander Ch Supt Chris Singer said, if implemented, such a move could help cut drink-related crime.

A similar project in Suffolk saw alcohol-related street crime drop by nearly 20% in six months, he said.

He added vendors and communities were involved in consultations but no start date for such a scheme had been set.

'Sales are legitimate'

The proposal would target sales of super-strength beer, lager and cider "in parts of the city centre and areas around Mutley [two areas popular with revellers] where this might be a useful tool", Mr Singer said.

However, the force did not want to be seen to be meddling with the local economy, he added.

"That's a critical point. The sale is absolutely legitimate, so I'm slightly guarded, because it has to be done in cooperation with partners, vendors and communities," he said.

"It's not for the police to ride roughshod, and I don't want people to think that 'If we don't stop, the police are going to close us'. That's not the case at all."

He said a firm evidential basis needed to be established before any such campaign was introduced.

He added that he was talking specifically about the city, and could not comment for the whole force area.

'Wouldn't stop drinking'

The idea has the support of police commissioner Tony Hogg.

Gina Dormer, chief executive of Broadreach House, which works with alcohol and drug abusers in the city, said drinkers would "would find a way" around such a scheme.

She said: "People I've spoken said they thought it was a good idea - but it wouldn't stop them drinking.

"One said that if super-strength was not available, they would just drink twice the standard amount."

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