Tonic Wine Blamed for Crime Rate in Young Offenders

Buckfast, the tonic wine drink produced by Benedictine monks in a Devon monastery has been named as topping the list of Asbo drinks, according to a new report that revealed four out of ten young offenders drank Buckfast prior to committing their crimes. 

81.3 percent of the youths that were surveyed said that they had drunk alcohol before offending and that 80 percent believed that alcohol had contributed to their offending crimes. The report showed that figures had almost doubled since 1996, from a previous total of 47.9 per cent.

Jim Wilson, company spokesman for Buckfast commented on the report saying "A lot of good people drink our product, not just young criminals. Just naming Buckfast is not fair."  The distributors, J Chandler and Co have previously rejected claims that their product is responsible for anti-social behaviour.

Polmont Young Offenders Institution Study

The Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research (SCCJR) carried out the study in 2007 at the Polmont Young Offenders Institution.  The study looked at alcohol and violence in young male offenders and was based on 420 young offenders dating back more than 30 years.  The study further found that 43.4 per cent had drunk Buckfast before carrying out their crime.  42 per cent were found to have drunk spirits and 31 per cent had drunk beer.

Richard Baker, Labour’s Scottish justice spokesman said "To have one drink linked to so many incidents of crime is extremely worrying."

Kenny MacAskill, Justice Secretary stated that minimum pricing for alcohol was a "targeted policy that would most affect harmful and hazardous drinkers".

He also added: "However, we recognise that certain drinks are chosen for reasons other than price – perhaps due to the image and perceived 'street cred' of them.  We need to change the culture of looking up to the heavy- drinking hard man."