Super-strength alcohol banned from Ipswich

Off-licence owners in Ipswich asked to remove strong alcohol from their stores Photo: David Cheskin/PA Wire

Ipswich has launched a campaign to stop the sale of super strength alcohol in what's believed to be the first initiative of its kind in the UK.

Off-licence owners are being asked to remove strong beers and ciders from their stores in an effort to tackle alcohol abuse.

The town has seen four street drinkers murdered in the last three years and police say the scheme could help those who are alcohol dependent, as well as those tasked with clean-up operations.

Big chains including Tesco, the East of England Co-Op and McColl newsagents have signed up along with smaller independent retailers to voluntarily remove the products.

The campaign, backed by Suffolk Police, NHS Suffolk, Ipswich Borough Council and Suffolk County Council, is targeted at beers and ciders with an alcohol volume of 6.5% and over which are often sold cheaply.

There are 130 off-licences in Ipswich, 53 of which will be super-strength free following the launch.

"We are positive that the Reducing the Strength Campaign will have significant, long-lasting, positive effects for the people of Ipswich.

"The negative impacts associated with super strength alcohol are significant for the consumer and the wider community, but also for the public services who deal with the consequences. This campaign aims to take the problem away at the source.

"We hope that licensees will share our belief in the positives associated with becoming 'super strength free' and that they will recognise the huge benefits that can result from removing these products from their shelves.

"We are the first county in the country to launch a campaign of this kind, and we hope that with support from our off-licences, we can roll this out across Suffolk, and eventually offer the campaign as a model for public services across the UK."

– Reducing the Strength Campaign spokesman