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Yarmouth man first for alcohol ban

PUBLISHED: 17:59 05 March 2009 | UPDATED: 13:14 03 July 2010

New initiative: PC Gary Pettengell of Yarmouth police, left, and recovering alcoholic Andrew Kelly hold a Count Me Out poster.

New initiative: PC Gary Pettengell of Yarmouth police, left, and recovering alcoholic Andrew Kelly hold a Count Me Out poster.

A RECOVERING alcoholic from Great Yarmouth is believed to have become the first person in the country to ban himself from being able to buy alcohol in local bars and shops.

A recovering Norfolk alcoholic is believed to be the first person in the country to ban himself from buying drinks from pubs and shops.

Andrew Kelly spoke last night about taking the brave step of preventing Yarmouth bars selling him beer and spirits so he can try to rebuild his shattered life.

The 41-year-old hopes that by taking part in the Count Me Out Alcohol Self Exclusion Programme, he may overcome his alcoholism and be given a chance to see his estranged son grow up

Launched in November, Count Me Out was the first of its kind nationally and sees people voluntarily ban themselves from pubs and stores in Yarmouth.

Mr Kelly, who has lived in the town for 10 years, told the Mercury why he became the first person to sign up to the free Count Me Out programme.

He said: “Drinking has cost me everything. Through drink I lost my job and assaulted my partner. I have lost her and my son and I will regret that for the rest of my life - I just want to see my son growing up.

“There are so many people like me who would really benefit from signing an agreement stopping them from buying alcohol.

“The fact that premises will recognise me if I try to breach the agreement means they can stop me before I have a drink which will help me beat my addiction,” said Mr Kelly.

Count Me Out is the brainchild of PC Gary Pettengell, of Yarmouth police, who has seen at first hand the horrors that alcoholism can cause. It is estimated that 40pc of all domestic abuse in the town is alcohol related.

People like Mr Kelly can exclude themselves for up to five years with participating pubs and shops having their details and photos.

PC Pettengell said: “I am very pleased that Andy has taken this very positive step. It is a big commitment to make.”

Supt Jim Smerdon, head of Yarmouth police, said: “We hope the Count Me Out initiative helps Mr Kelly rebuild the lives of himself and his family. Licensees can participate in this scheme for free and I would encourage them to do so.

“This is an excellent opportunity for licensees to demonstrate their commitment to social responsibility.

“This is an extremely innovative approach and an exceptional example of self-policing,” he said.

Mr Kelly has also decided to help promote Count Me Out by visiting other licensed premises to persuade them to sign up to the project. A similar scheme also exists for problem gamblers in Yarmouth.

So far the Longbar, the Troll Cart, the Rumbold Arms, Tesco Extra and Costcutters are participating.

Daniel Harry, from the Norfolk Drug and Alcohol Action Team, said: “We are pleased to see Count Me Out develop... This scheme will offer an opportunity for some alcohol misusers to change their behaviour.”

For more information on Count Me Out, visit www.countmeout.org.uk

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