Volunteers try to stop pre-loading
Clubbers and pub goers could be breathalysed as they
venture out in Maidstone in an attempt to measure levels of
Urban Blue Bus volunteers will carry hand-held
intoximeters to determine the volume of so-called 'pre-fuelled'
drinkers who load up with alcohol BEFORE a night out in
A recent study by Maidstone Town Centre Management
indicated many revellers are well above the drink-drive limit
before they even set foot in a pub.
The four-week move, the first of its kind, could add
pressure to change Britain's binge-drinking culture which is
blamed for placing strain on A&E units and causing
an increase in liver disease deaths.
Paul Alcock, manager of The Mall Chequers, said: "The plan is to
find out how much people are pre-fuelling.
"The results will be used to warn of the dangers of drinking at
home before going out."
According to latest figures from the Local Alcohol Profiles for
England, 17% of those aged 16 and over in Maidstone engage in binge
drinking - this equates to roughly 21,000 people.
Mr Alcock said the intoximeter scheme, a joint initiative
between Town Centre Management supported by police, will be up and
running in the next four weeks.
The hand-held devices could be used to carry out 200 tests a
night on some of the estimated 20,000 weekend visitors to
Maidstone's 50 licensed pubs and clubs.
The move follows a tour of the town's nightlife by the council's
licensing committee last weekend.
One of the group, Cllr Dave Naghi, was shocked to see drinkers
relieving themselves at the side of the road.
"It was disgusting," he said. "We're going to get some toilets
back in the High Street."
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