KIRKLEES’S licensing chief wants to ban the sale of high-strength lagers and ciders in Huddersfield town centre.
Clr Christine Iredale, who chairs the council’s licensing committee, says the sale of cheap but very strong drinks is contributing to anti-social behaviour in the town centre, as well as alcohol dependency.
Last week the Examiner found at least four town centre shops selling high-strength booze at low prices.
One retailer sold four 500ml cans of 9% proof lager – the equivalent of nine pints of ordinary strength beer – for less than £5.
Another sold three litres of 7.5%proof cider, equal to 10 pints of regular cider, for just £3.
Street drinking in the town centre was outlawed in November, but the Examiner found drinkers consuming high-strength beverages immediately outside the zone demarcated by the A62 ring road.
Clr Iredale said: “I’m against the sale of these drinks and the anti-social behaviour they cause.
“We have to ensure behaviour in the town centre is under control and this sort of drink won’t help the situation.
“Our top priority is to help these people overcome their dependency. If that means making it harder to access these drinks that’s a good idea.
“If we bring in local legislation to stop this that would be a step forward. It’s something I will bring forward.”
But Chief Insp John Carter, of Kirklees police’s community safety unit, says a ban will lead alcoholics on to even harder drinks. He added: “The fact is that alcoholics need to drink.
“They don't choose to be alcoholics, so if you ban these high-strength lagers they'll just find something else.
“Alcoholism is an addiction like any other,” he said.
“When drug addicts can’t get the drugs they'll inject anything to get the same high.
“I don't think a ban on selling high-strength ciders or lagers in the town centre would resolve the issue.
“We’re more concerned about people drinking in alcohol control zones.
“We are working to resolve that.”