Video: Firm urges pub and nightclubs to ditch glass

A West Yorkshire manufacturing firm has delivered a festive message to city centre pub and nightclub owners calling on them to ditch the use of glass to save lives - and millions of pounds.

BB Plastics, which makes virtually indestructible drinking vessels, has urged bosses working in the night-time leisure industry to play their part in the UK's austerity drive by switching to a safer alternative to glass - dramatically cutting the number of city centre glass attacks and the cost to the public purse.

The Mirfield company - which sells its products as far afield as China and Australia, as well as here in the UK - has backed a national campaign calling for legislation to force city centre nightclubs and late night bars to make the switch from glass to a safer alternative.

The cost to the taxpayer of treating, investigating and prosecuting people involved in the 300 glass attacks which occur each week in the UK runs into millions of pounds annually.

BB Plastics manager Mick Steer spoke out during what is traditionally the busiest time of the year for the drinks industry, urging town and city centre venues to call time on glass.

Mick said: "Glass is a perfect weapon which, sadly, is used all too often. We want people to be safe over the Christmas and New Year period and both the police and NHS know, the easiest way to do that in venues where young people are consuming large amounts of alcohol is to serve it in something other than glass.

"If someone gets hit over the head with a polycarbonate container, they may get a bruise but because these products are virtually unbreakable, they wouldn't receive the horrific cuts associated with glass attacks."

Marjorie Golding, whose son Blake was left needing 50 stitches after a glass attack in Milton Keynes, now fronts the POP campaign, calling for a change in legislation to force late night city centre venues to be made to ditch glass.

She described her reaction to seeing her son's injuries as a mother's worst nightmare adding: "During the course of this campaign I have spoken to thousands of people, many of which are the young people who go to these venues and the over-riding message that we get is that they would feel safer in a glass free venue."

Cities such as Sheffield which have made the switch wholesale to polycarbonates have reported significant reductions in the number of glassing injuries: both malicious and accidental.

Alison Newbold, a manager at the Leadmill in Sheffield, a city which has made the switch to polycarbonates. moved to allay the fears held by her counterparts in other parts of the country.

"We don't seem to have had that much of a problem with the move from glass to polycarbonates," said Alison. "It helped with it being introduced city-wide because customers know that and expect it when they come out so they don't even mention it.

"Polycarbonates have been produced that well over the last couple of years that you can't even tell it's plastic until it's empty and it's light."

Alexandra Homayoonpoor, 21, from Leeds, was glassed in a pub in Headingley on New Year's Eve and is facing continued plastic surgery to try and reduce the scarring on her face.

She said: "No one should have to go through what I went through. I was on a night out having fun and a glass was used as a weapon. It's almost as if you're giving out knives at a bar because they can be smashed and be as sharp as a knife."

As well as leading to a dramatic reduction in the number of glass related injuries in towns and cities where the switch has been made, the knock on benefits for pubs and clubs have included lower insurance premiums, less accidental injuries to staff and customers and huge financial savings on dancefloor repairs and replacements.

As well as victims, the call to make the switch has been backed by A&E doctors, together with the Royal College of Surgeons of England and the British Medical Association.

A glass is the most common weapon in fights in pubs and bars. Football grounds were banned from selling alcohol in glass containers several years ago.

Since the introduction of the trial in Hull in 2008, nobody has been injured because of "glassing" and the local NHS has saved 7.2m in eye surgery costs.

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