A Labour councillor is under fire after encouraging cricket fans to smuggle alcohol into Edgbaston for the Ashes Test Match this week.
Sandwell councillor Bob Piper used his weekly blog to give readers his “secret, foolproof method” of sneaking alcohol past security guards confiscating any bottles by using Tupperwear and a tomato.
But the move has been heavily criticised as irresponsible by Warwickshire Cricket Club bosses and alcohol awareness groups.
It is not the first time that Coun Piper, who is also chairman of Sandwell Mental Health Trust, has courted controversy over his website as he got a severe reprimand from Labour peers in December 2006 for displaying a doctored image of a blacked-up David Cameron to poke fun at the Conservative attempts to chase ethnic voters.
In the latest gaffe, Coun Piper urged readers to keep his secret to themselves and recommended chilling the inside foil container from a three litre wine box before folding it into a tupperwear container and “topping it off with a tomato” to get it past security at Edgbaston Cricket Ground.
The Labour representative for Abbey Ward for the past 10 years also advised putting Guinness in a tea flask.
“If you like a bit of a tipple during the match, Edgbaston can be a bit of a nightmare on test match day, because they search everyone’s bags on the way in and confiscate any alcohol at the gate or refuse you entry,” wrote Coun Piper.
“It’s not as if alcohol is banned or anything, it is just that Warwickshire County Cricket Club want you to splash out on buying its alcohol, which is ok if you want a bottle of Moet for about 50 notes, or pints of frozen Carling fizzy lager.
“A few years ago this draconian policy resulted in my mate Jinksy missing the whole morning session as he sat in the park over the road working his way through a dozen bottles of Leffe blonde, as I recall, he didn’t see too much of the afternoon session either.”
The lifelong Aston Villa fan and follower of Yorkshire County Cricket Club added that the views on his blog were “mine in a personal capacity, not those of the Labour Party, Sandwell Council, Aston Villa or Yorkshire County Cricket Club. Get it! Mine... just mine!”
The councillor was not available for comment.
The comments come ahead of England playing Australia in the Third Test of the Ashes at Edgbaston, which starts on Thursday.
Warwickshire Cricket Club managers were surprised to see the blog and a spokeswoman said: “Whilst it is disappointing to hear reports of these comments, the ground regulations are quite clear for this match and have been in place for some time and will be applied as normal.”
Chris Sorek, chief executive of alcohol charity Drinkaware, urged people to think twice about following the advice
“Not only does drinking alcohol make you need to go to toilet more and therefore increase your chances of missing a wicket, it can have serious short and long term health implications as well,” said Mr Sorek.
“For many people, alcohol and sporting events go hand in hand, whether buying from the grounds, drinking in a local pub or having a few in their lounge room, it’s important that people keep track of how much alcohol they’re drinking and don’t get carried away.”
The charity has warned that one in five people in the West Midlands drink more in the summertime than at any other time of the year and nearly half of adults in the region admit to missing key events in their lives after being caught short due to drinking too much and needing the toilet.
England cricketer Jimmy Anderson has teamed up with Drinkaware for the Drink Less, Miss Less campaign and featured in a video encouraging people to regulate their summer drinking.
See the video here: