Trade supports irresponsible drink promo crackdown in Blackpool

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Related tags: Irresponsible drinks promotions, Lancashire

Police in Blackpool are encouraging pub operators to drop irresponsible drinks promotions, believing they have developed an approach which does not...

Police in Blackpool are encouraging pub operators to drop irresponsible drinks promotions, believing they have developed an approach which does not breach OFT price fixing regulations.

Most of the Lancashire seaside resort's pubs have signed up to the Nightsafe Responsible Drinks Discounting Protocol.

The town is a destination drinking venue for stag and hen parties, as well as groups of young holidaymakers, and has become plagued by binge drinking and late night public order problems

The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) said it has been in close contact with Blackpool police, persuading them to target irresponsible promotions rather than pursuing a blanket ban.

Police have asked pubs to agree to a range of measures including a ban on fixed entry price 'all you can drink' promotions, end to peak period discounts, and no games involving speed drinking.

Mark Hastings, spokesman for the BBPA, said: "Initially the police were pushing for a ban on all promotions, but they've been persuaded that the approach we're advocating, targeting the cowboys rather than the responsible operators, is the right one."

In the face of increasing problems in the town centre, Lancashire police have made it very clear they expect co-operation from all licensees and pub operators. With no minimum drinks price specified in the measures, the police believe they can avoid the OFT price fixing charge that scuppered a similar scheme in Bolton. Tony Payne, chief executive of the Federation of Licensed Victuallers' Associations, said: "We're strongly advising licensees to co-operate with the police, not only because of the particular problems Blackpool has, but also because these kind of irresponsible promotions are very damaging to the pub trade in the longer term." Among those signed up to the initiative is Lancashire brewer and pub operator Daniel Thwaites, which operates one of the town's biggest late-night venues, NTK.

Paul Baker, managing director of Daniel Thwaites, said: "Basically we support sensible drinking. That's company policy everywhere, and particularly in Blackpool where promotions have got completely out of hand. Something had to be done."

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