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Daytime alcohol sale ban suggested to curb addiction

NHS Shetland bosses outlined the radical move in annual health report.

By STV News

Published 07 Nov 2016.

A Scottish health board has outlined radical proposals to ban shops from selling alcohol before 5pm.

NHS Shetland says curbing licensing hours would be a "big help" in tackling the country's drinking problem.

Recent figures show 51% of men in Shetland were drinking up to 14 units a week while 63% of women drink up to 14 units a week.

The statistics also show 35% of men and 18% of women drink more than 14 units a week.

The report by NHS Shetland's director of public health, Susan Webb, said: "Although in the Scottish Islands there is a lower number of licensed premises overall compared to mainland Scotland, they are concentrated in the main towns including Lerwick where there are pockets of high availability."

Ms Webb pointed to research conducted with Aberdeen-based alcoholics who said "daily struggles" included the availability of off-sales.

She wrote: "[They said] restricting licensing hours would be a big help, if off-sales were not permitted until late afternoon or evening rather than from 10am.

"Most buy alcohol from supermarkets, it is difficult to be in recovery and go about normal daily living tasks if they have to pass the alcohol display."

Starting alcohol sales from 5pm was one of the suggestions, along with displaying drink away from the tills and at the back of the store.

NHS Shetland's public health annual report is due to be considered by the local licensing board.