Police struggle to stop teenage dial-a-drink service

Stockholm police have admitted they are making little progress in quelling the phenomenon known as “vodka-mobile”, which sees teens ordering alcohol deliveries via text message.

School children – many of whom have several numbers saved as ‘vodka-mobile’ in their phones – are texting their orders to the dealers who call back to arrange a drop-off location.

“It’s a huge problem. ‘Vodka-mobile’ is a term all the young people know today,” Marc Gynning of the Stockholm police told the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper. “In just a few minutes [the dealers] can sell vodka to ten or fifteen kids who pay cash,” he said. “Those few times we’ve received tips about an ongoing deal, we never get there in time.”

Officers believe that the alcohol, which includes brands such as Danzka, Rachmaninoff, Magic Crystal, Zaranoff and Jeltzin, is bought on the black market abroad and smuggled into Sweden. They say that the service is being used by teenagers from all walks of life.

“We think the contact number has been spread from a few to many, many young people. Vodka is in high demand among youth and the few that we catch have two or three numbers under the name ‘vodka-mobile’ in their phones,” Gynning told DN. “Binge drinking of hard liquor inevitably results in kids becoming drunk and out of control. That in turn increases violent criminality among guys, and girls get so drunk that they become easy targets,” he added.

Young drinkers have been reluctant to snitch on their suppliers however, and several well-documented drops are needed for police to secure a successful prosecution. “We have to be there ourselves when the goods are handed over. We have to see the crime with our own eyes,” said Gynning. “We need a large, coordinated surveillance effort across all of Stockholm County,” he added.