Ha­rassed traders ‘got breathal­y­sers from the po­lice’

Western Mail - - NEWS - Wales News Ser­vice news­desk@waleson­line.co.uk

SHOP­KEEP­ERS breathalysing cus­tomers say they bought equip­ment from the po­lice – be­cause they were so fed up with serv­ing al­co­hol to drunks.

Two Spar stores in Cardiff are breathalysing cus­tomers who come into the shop in an ef­fort to com­bat street drink­ing.

Ro­hat Hamed, 40, who has been a shop man­ager for eight years, told how the breathal­yser has helped curb the prob­lem.

She said: “We’ve used it hun­dreds of times al­ready – we just grab it and if any­body who tries to buy al­co­hol looks drunk we tell them to blow into it. Some peo­ple have given us abuse when we use it be­cause they must think that they’re above the law.”

The breathal­y­sers were given to shop­keep­ers for a trial – and they were then al­lowed to buy them from the South Wales force.

She said: “We ended up buy­ing it from the po­lice for £200 be­cause we have got a lot of prob­lems here when peo­ple are buy­ing al­co­hol from else­where and con­gre­gat­ing around this area.”

She in­sists that her store is not to blame for any drunken trou­ble­mak­ers in the streets.

She added: “We’re get­ting blamed when it’s got noth­ing to do with us.

“We’re ac­tu­ally do­ing the po­lice’s job – it’s not our job, we never serve any­body in here who’s drunk.

“Some peo­ple buy cases of al­co­hol from other shops then sit out­side our shop – but it’s not us who’s sold them that al­co­hol.

“The set of benches right out­side be­cause it’s a good chill-out area, but we don’t serve them. We’ve banned a lot of them.

“Peo­ple don’t like them sit­ting there and it does af­fect the tourists – Cardiff is a boom­ing city at the mo­ment and there are al­ways peo­ple vis­it­ing.”

Di­vi­sional Com­man­der for Cardiff Chief Su­per­in­ten­dent Belinda Davies said: “Such be­hav­iour can prove in­tim­i­dat­ing, un­pleas­ant and un­wel­com­ing to those vis­it­ing or work­ing in the area.”

Op­er­a­tion Pur­ple Ash aims to help vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple on the street while tak­ing ac­tion against trou­ble­mak­ers.

South Wales Po­lice have said that 40 al­co­holic drinks have been seized and 18 peo­ple have been ar­rested since the op­er­a­tion be­gan just un­der two weeks ago.

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