Bosses at a regional retailer have pledged their commitment to reducing alcohol-related health problems and anti-social behaviour by banning the sale of cheap, super-strength beers and ciders across Norfolk and Norwich.

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Managers at the East of England Co-op have taken the decision to end the sale of the strong alcohol brands at all of its 35 Norfolk stores.

The roll-out of the ‘reducing the strength’ campaign follows the success of a pilot in Suffolk where the sale of very low cost beer and cider with an alcohol volume of more than 6.5pc ended in September 2012.

Officials said the Co-op was the first retailer in England to take such action and it hoped to inspire other retailers to follow suit.

Roger Grosvenor, executive officer for retail for the East of England Co-op, said the products would be off all shelves by December 16.

“I am extremely pleased to announce that sales of cheap, super-strength lager and cider will stop in all our Norfolk stores. Our partnership work has shown how removing the problem at source can help reduce anti-social behaviour in the local areas where we trade. As an ethical retailer, we want to ensure all our local communities can benefit from the positive effect such action can achieve.

“We hope to encourage other retailers in the county to take similar action. Our trials in Ipswich showed that the volume of alcohol sales remained consistent and yet the number of alcohol units bought by customers dropped by 113,000. So this is not only good news for customers and communities, it’s good for business too,” he said.

The initiative was welcomed by Norfolk Police officers and officials from Healthy Norwich, the initiative led by Norwich Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Norwich City Council, Public Health and the Norfolk Drug and Alcohol Action Team.

Tracy Williams, a Norwich nurse and member of Norwich CCG, said: “We support this move by the Co-op, it sets a great example that we would like other stores to follow. Super-strength alcohol can have a serious affect on health and can do immense damage to the body, both physically and mentally.”

More than 65pc of stores in Ipswich have taken super-strength beers and ciders off their shelves over the last year and in one area of the Suffolk town, anti-social behaviour fell by 64pc after the ban.

Insp Darren Brooks, from Norfolk Police’s licensing team said: “Unfortunately high-strength alcohol tends to go to a minority of customers including some of the most vulnerable. We recognise the impact this can have on communities and welcome the action taken by the East of England Co-op to remove the problem at source and hope it will inspire other retailers to follow suit.”

Norwich off-licences and stores who wish to support the campaign can register their interest or request an information pack via the Healthy Norwich mailbox at healthynorwich@norwich.gov.uk

17 comments

  • It all smacks of Prohibition American Style, !!

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    Albert Cooper

    Monday, December 9, 2013

  • Stupid nanny-state rubbish. Banning of anything with a sharp edge soon to follow....

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    DT

    Monday, December 9, 2013

  • Usual nanny state way of doing things. Proper way would be to arrest those carrying out the anti social behaviour and locking them up, rather than penalising the other 99% of the population who might want just one glass of high strength lager and can control themselves.

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    DaveG

    Tuesday, December 10, 2013

  • By Odin's beard this cannot be right! There is a heroic Special drink, originally made in Denmark, that is the brew of heroes. What will our modern Beowulf's do? I cannot abide that sweet LameBrainy pear wine thingy. Tis a girly drink! I don't care, when they stare, when I'm always with you. We're a pair, it's not fair when they say we're a special brew.

    Report this comment

    oldowl

    Tuesday, December 10, 2013

  • Co-Op seem to have the delusion they are going to change the world for the better by themselves. They covered up the mens magazines to protect children yet theres still tons of images of women in bikinis etc on their shelves thanks to Heat & OK. We'll solve the problem by only dealing with a little part of it and brush the bigger issues under the carpet.

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    Piranha24

    Tuesday, December 10, 2013

  • What about the 'super-strength' wine and spirits ? One might presume the so called 'anti-social' people will simply drink twice as much of the low-strength beers and ciders - yay more profits for the retailer.

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    GoodRockinDaddy

    Tuesday, December 10, 2013

  • all smacks of Coke for the Boys !

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    che bramley

    Monday, December 9, 2013

  • welcome to totalitarian east of england , do gooders wanting to tell people what the can and can't do ... theres far more costumers that drink westons strong cider for the taste , i do , perhaps 4 or 5 a week .. will do ALL my shopping elsewhere from now on .. they still sell wiskey, rum vodka ect and cigarettes there the cause of greater antisocial behavior !!!!

    Report this comment

    gazza

    Monday, December 9, 2013

  • Agreed John, start selling more Woodfordes and less of the Suffolk ales too, support a few of the local Norfolk brewers.

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    Piranha24

    Tuesday, December 10, 2013

  • Look at it this way. All the co op shops in Norwich are in the vacinity of smaller, cheaper, independently owned cornershops, they are cheaper, open later, and have a far greater selection of strong lagers and ciders, they also sell single cans, which co op does'nt, what co op has done won't affect anyone or achieve anything, but will clear up space on their shelves for acceptable cut price alcohol for the xmas and new year period.

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    inactive user

    Tuesday, December 10, 2013

  • Lager is not a proper drink anyway, it all tastes the same. Real English bitter is a proper drink!

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    John Bridge

    Tuesday, December 10, 2013

  • Another way could be for retailers to voluntarily apply a minimum price per alcoholic unit, effectively meaning that they can still sell these products but at a premium. Thereby introducing a self subscribing tax for the gullible.

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    George Ezekial

    Tuesday, December 10, 2013

  • DaveG who in their right mind wants to drink one can of this rubbish? It is great when life is so much of a problem that a few hours off your face is a relief from your troubles. Fatso's Testimonial makes some interesting points not sure I fully endorse them but they are the most sensible comments today.

    Report this comment

    George Ezekial

    Tuesday, December 10, 2013

  • First the Co-op never sells anything low price..Secondly should it not sort out it's own problems before others?? Stones & glass houses springs to mind...

    Report this comment

    el84

    Tuesday, December 10, 2013

  • It’s not alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society. If we're looking for the source of our troubles, we should look at the stupidity, ignorance, greed and love of power in our society.

    Report this comment

    Old Long Balls

    Monday, December 9, 2013

  • I saw them taking the cans off the shelves on TV yesterday. What are they doing with the removed cans, not destroying them presumably. I'll have some if they are giving them away!

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    John Redfern

    Tuesday, December 10, 2013

  • Not the sensible way to go about it! modifying behaviour patterns of people who seem to enjoy getting plastered is a better solution,because they will always find a way to get strong booze! It seems to be a particularly British phenomenon,and has led to a 4 fold increase in liver disease. Perhaps an advertising campaign about the destructive effects of alchohol might be an idea.

    Report this comment

    Harry Rabinowitz

    Monday, December 9, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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