No booze sales before 9am bid

A code of practice for off licence owners has been launched in Blackpool
A code of practice for off licence owners has been launched in Blackpool
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Off licence owners in Blackpool are being urged not to sell booze before 9am in a bid to crack down on problem street drinkers.

They will also be asked to store high strength alcohol behind the counter and not to sell single bottles as part of a new code of practice which Blackpool Council is asking traders to sign up to.

Campaigners today welcomed the initiative and urged off licence owners to back it.

Dave Blacker, chairman of the Talbot ward PACT (police and community together), said: “I think this is a really good idea but it needs to be part of a wider strategy in relation to minimum pricing controls for alcohol, and the supermarkets should also be involved.

“There is no easy fix to Blackpool’s alcohol problems but this is moving in the right direction and I hope off licence owners will sign up to the new code of practice.”

Measures included in the code of practice also include all staff should attend a compulsory responsible alcohol retailing course and an agreement to focus product lines away from cheap, high strength alcohol.

Blackpool’s director of public health Dr Arif Rajpura said: “We need to tackle the problems caused by cheap alcohol head on, not only to help the drinkers themselves to change but also to the innocent victims around them.

“The best way to do this, in my view, is to introduce a minimum unit price (MUP) for alcohol set at 50p per unit.

“This new code of practice, although not introducing a minimum price, will reduce some of the impacts of the cheap, high strength alcohol on street drinking.”

Coun Gillian Campbell, deputy leader of Blackpool Council, said: “While the police have responsibility for dealing with people who commit offences, we can help by putting in place conditions that try to minimise the harmful effect alcohol and, in particular, street drinkers can have on the community.”

Retailers will be contacted directly by licensing officials about signing up to the new code of practice in the coming weeks.