High-strength beer to be axed from Brighton and Hove off-licence shelves

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Scores of off-licences in Brighton and Hove are to stop selling high-strength beer and cider after proposals were approved by councillors.

Shop owners who sign up to the Sensible on Strength campaign will ban beer, lager or cider above 6% from their shelves.

More than 60 off-licences have already volunteered to join the scheme, Brighton and Hove City Council said.

Shops that sign up will be able to display a Sensible on Strength sticker.

Stephanie Powell, chairman of the council's licensing committee, which approved the plans on Thursday, said high-strength drinks could cause "immense harm to vulnerable people".

Alcohol-related disorder also increased the fear of crime and that created an unpleasant environment, she said.

"Experience shows that where this kind of alcohol has been removed from sale there has been a reduction in crime, disorder and antisocial behaviour," she added.

A similar scheme was introduced in Ipswich in 2012 and on its first anniversary, in September, was credited with cutting crime and reducing the number of identified street drinkers.

Jesse Wilde, service manager at the Equinox Brighton alcohol outreach service, said drinking weaker alcohol meant street drinkers were "more willing to engage with our support".

He said they were less likely to put themselves at risk, and "less likely to impact on their wider community".

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