Supermarkets help small stores curb underage drinking

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Under age drinker
Image caption,
The aim of the initiative is to curb underage drinking

Leading supermarkets in Edinburgh have volunteered to help smaller stores to deal with the problems of underage drinking.

Sainsbury's and Scotmid Co-operative will assist in training other licensed premises in responsible selling practices.

The scheme is part of a new campaign launched by The East Edinburgh Community Alcohol Partnership (CAP).

It aims to educate people about the impact of alcohol abuse.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said the initiative would "undoubtedly play a huge part in tackling underage drinking and anti-social behaviour".

One of the campaign's priorities is to reduce opportunities for under-18s to purchase alcohol, with the City of Edinburgh Council, trading standards and Police Scotland all working with local retailers, schools and youth groups to examine this issue.

Miles Beale, chief executive of Community Alcohol Partnerships, said: "Locally-tailored partnerships, which recognise that retailers and licensees are an important part of the solution have been shown to be highly effective in driving down harm."

He said: "I am delighted at the launch of a flagship CAP for Scotland in East Edinburgh. Community Alcohol Partnerships are a tried and tested way of driving down underage drinking and creating better, safer and friendlier neighbourhoods."

Mr MacAskill said: "Alcohol misuse is a scourge on communities across the country and costs Scotland £3.6 billion a year as well has having a terrible knock-on effect on families and communities.

"Initiatives such as this promote responsible behaviour in young people and deter underage drinking, which will all ultimately contribute to a safer, stronger and healthier Scotland."

John Lee, of the Scottish Grocers' Federation, said: "What makes the CAP approach so effective is that it puts retailers at the heart of the partnership and sees them very much as part of the solution.

"This is an outstanding opportunity for local retailers to demonstrate their commitment to responsible retailing and their willingness to work proactively with key agencies in the community."

Supt Matt Richards, from Police Scotland's Edinburgh division, said: "The knock-on effects of binge drinking to individuals and local communities can be severe, and together we can bring about a change in attitudes and behaviour."

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