Great Britain

Buckfast linked to over 10,000 crime reports in Scotland since 2018

BUCKFAST has been linked to 10,500 crime reports in just three and a half years, we can reveal.

New stats obtained by The Scottish Sun show Police Scotland recorded the tonic wine thousands of times in annual callouts.

In 2018, there were 3,172 reports of officers called out to incidents which reference the notorious drink - rising to 3,491 in 2019.

It comes as sales of the caffeinated plonk, famously made by monks at Buckfast Abbey in Devon, soared to record highs of £51.8 million last year.

As lockdowns hammered alcohol sales in 2020 Buckfast-related crime slumped by 1,000 to 2,380.

And this year - from January until July - 1,535 potentially Buckfast-linked crimes have also been reported.

The bevvy - dubbed ‘wreck the hoose juice’ - has a long-standing association with violent crime in Scotland.

But distributors behind the brand maintain they are unfairly targeted.

And Police Scotland pointed out that in general they deal with around 4,000 incidents each day - 1.5m over the course of a year.

Buckfast Abbey said: “Buckfast Tonic Wine is made to the traditional recipe dating back to the 19th century, and is bottled by J Chandler and Company (Buckfast) Limited, who are solely responsible for the bottling and distribution of the tonic wine.

“As such, Buckfast Abbey does not have a direct influence on the way in which the tonic wine is packaged, promoted or sold, although The Buckfast Abbey Trust does request that it is marketed and distributed responsibly.”

A previous BBC investigation revealed 5,638 Strathclyde Police crime reports between 2006 and 2009.

There have been multiple attempts to break the link between necking Buckfast and crime across Scotland.

In December, 2016, a sheriff warned there was a “very definite association between Buckfast and violence”.

In 2014, Police Scotland failed in a legal bid to put markers on glass bottles used in boozed-fuelled crime to trace where they’d been purchased.

TRNSMT: Moment ‘hero’ who buried Buckfast bottle at Glasgow Green days before festival digs it back up

Meanwhile former justice minister Cathy Jamieson also called for an outright ban in 2005.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “By all main measures crime, including violent crime, is now considerably lower than a decade ago, with fewer victims.

“We have invested over £23 million into violence prevention programmes since 2008, to help people access the support they need to address multiple complex issues that often accompany chaotic violent lifestyles, including alcohol dependency, substance use and poor mental health.”

Aidan Collins of Alcohol Focus Scotland said: “Alcohol was mentioned in connection with 22 per cent of crimes in Scotland in 2019/20, but the harmful impacts of alcohol extend far beyond our criminal justice system.

“Alcohol causes the deaths of 10 people in Scotland every day - one in sixteen of all deaths in Scotland - and more than 30,000 hospital admissions a year.

"This is because drinking any type of alcohol puts you at risk of long-term health conditions including liver cirrhosis, heart disease and stroke, as well as at least eight different types of cancer including bowel and breast cancer.”

Buckfast distributors J Chandler and Co were contacted for comment.

Watch TRNSMT 'hero' dig up buried Buckfast bottle during festival

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