Battle to end Blackpool’s booze nightmare

A victim suffering from the effects of excessive alcohol

A victim suffering from the effects of excessive alcohol

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BLACKPOOL is leading the way in the battle to cut the UK’s booze hell.

On the eve of the year’s biggest party night, health chiefs in the resort calling for the introduction of minimum pricing for alcohol have stepped up their campaign with the launch of a dedicated website.

They want a price of at least 50p a unit on drinks and are urging people to sign a petition backing the campaign while insisting it would only affect those who abuse alcohol.

The move comes amid reports Prime Minister David Cameron is set to push through plans for a minimum pricing scheme of between 40p and 50p a unit.

Blackpool, which has 1,900 bars and 180 off licences, has one of the highest death rates from chronic liver disease in the UK with more than 4,500 alcohol related hospital admissions a year.

And it is claimed some outlets in the resort sell alcohol for as little as 12p per unit.

But one former alcoholic today told The Gazette alcohol abusers would go to any length to lay their hands on booze - no matter what the price.

Joe Cygal, 48, from Fleetwood, is a recovering alcoholic who has turned his life around after being off the bottle for a year.

He said: “The price is irrelevant. If you want it, you will find it.

“I’ve never stolen for it – if I could only afford to buy three bottles of cider I’d have to do without and have the shakes for half a day until I got more work.

“Minimum pricing just means if it’s expensive, some people may go out and offend so they can get it. If it’s cheap, they won’t go out offending.”