Buckfast 'Held to Blame' for Hundreds of Violent Crimes

Article excerpt

Byline: Graham Grant Home Affairs Editor

FOR more than a century, Buckfast tonic wine has been produced by monks in the tranquil surroundings of a rural monastery.

But its unenviable accolade as the drink blamed for much of Scotland's alcohol-fuelled violence has been confirmed by figures linking it to an astonishing 5,000 crimes in one area.

Scientists have also revealed the highalcohol drink's caffeine content - a bottle of Buckfast contains as much of the substance as eight cans of Coca-Cola - may inflame violent behaviour.

The crime figures refer to the number of reports mentioning the notorious beverage filed by Strathclyde Police officers over the past three years. Almost one in ten of these 'Buckfast crimes' was violent, according to statistics obtained under freedom of information legislation.

During that period, the Buckfast bottle was used as a weapon 114 times.

The findings are revealed in a TV documentary tonight called BBC Scotland Investigates: The Buckfast Code.

During the programme, Superintendent Bob Hamilton of Strathclyde Police acknowledges a 'clear' link between Buckfast and violence.

The investigation also looks at the ingredients of the drink and how they may potentially make consumers anxious and aggressive if drunk in large quantities. The programme features interviews with inmates at Polmont Young Offenders Institution, near Falkirk, Stirlingshire, who admitted drinking two bottles of Buckfast a day. …