A national chain has been slammed for selling single cans of alcohol for just 50p in a bargain booze bin on the shop floor.
The Spar on Kincraig Road, Bispham, offered ‘loose beer’ including ‘a can or a bottle’ at rock bottom prices from a crate alongside shelves selling boxes of chocolates.
Shocked councillors today attacked the chain for encouraging irresponsible drinking.
Spar has since withdrawn the offer and said changes are being made to the offending store.
Coun Gillian Campbell, deputy leader of Blackpool Council, said: “It is no secret Blackpool has some of the worst rates of alcohol related deaths in the country – and we have a real challenge on our hands to tackle the scourge of excess drinking across the whole town.
“In order to change our fortunes, we need alcohol retailers to take responsibility for when it is appropriate to sell alcohol and at what price.
We were unaware this was happening in one of our stores and have acted immediately to ensure that this bargain bin of alcohol is removed from the shop floor.
“Our voluntary code of alcohol selling in the town centre asks retailers not to sell high strength alcohol in single cans or at rock bottom prices.
“That is an issue that is much more prevalent in the centre of town but the same sentiment should stretch out across the whole of Blackpool.
“We will take a look at this issue and see what the reasons behind it are.”
The latest figures show Blackpool has one of the highest rates of liver disease in the country, with 43 deaths per 100,000.
A spokesman for Spar said: “Thank you for bringing this to our attention.
“We were unaware this was happening in one of our stores and have acted immediately to ensure that this bargain bin of alcohol is removed from the shop floor.
“We pride ourselves on being responsible retailers and can confirm that it is not our policy to sell single cans or bottles of beer.
“The store on Kingcraig Road is due to shut temporarily due to a refit to bring customers a new and improved store.”
Ingthorpe ward councillor Amy Cross said selling cheap booze was sending out the wrong message.
She said: “None of us want to see this sort of thing going on in our local ward.
“It isn’t helpful if someone has an alcohol issue and we don’t want to be promoting drinking that isn’t responsible.
“Allowing people to buy single cans for 50p encourages younger people to drink, because it is so cheap and we don’t want that.”
Figures from Public Health England released in June also showed Blackpool has one of the highest rates of alcohol-related hospital admission in the country with 797.7 alcohol related hospital admissions per 100,000 people.
In September, Blackpool Council launched a new voluntary code of conduct with off licence owners urged not to sell booze before 9am, to store high strength alcohol behind the counter and not to sell single bottles, as part of moves to tackle alcohol abuse.