Alcohol awareness course to be offered to binge drinkers

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The introduction of a new scheme launched to cut alcohol- related crime will help ensure Sudbury’s reputation is not damaged by binge drinkers.

People caught committing minor offences, which are contributed to by alcohol consumption, will now be offered the chance to take part in a drink awareness course.

The Alcohol Diversion Scheme – brought into force across the county on Friday – aims to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour by educating people about the effects alcohol can have.

Suffolk’s police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore said he believed the scheme would prevent towns and villages becoming associated with binge drinking.

“I hope that this will have a positive effect wherever it is laid out because people need to realise the damage they can do to people and property by binge drinking,” Mr Passmore said.

“It is a small minority that spoils it for others and goes over the top. In places like Sudbury, which is a lovely town and well-known as the birth place of Thomas Gainsborough it can damage its reputation and detract from the town.”

Anyone committing crimes, such as being drunk and disorderly, will be given the chance to enrol on the three-hour course, which will cost them £45. Those who choose not to complete the course will have to pay a fine of £90.

“It is unacceptable that people should suffer from binge drinking and it should not be tolerated,” said Mr Passmore.

“I am not against people going out and enjoying a drink but we do need to encourage everyone to drink responsibly.”

Sudbury is due to be one of the first in the area to bring in the Reducing the Strength campaign, which sees beer, lager and cider above 6.5 per cent alcohol by volume, removed from shop shelves.