Crime on New Year's eve stretches police
POLICE custody cells were so full on New Year's eve, prisoners were being driven miles across Essex to find empty cells. As 2008 dawned, Essex Police were stretched to their limits with some stations reporting a 400 per cent increase in 999 calls compared with an average night.
By Annie Davidson
POLICE custody cells were so full on New Year's eve, prisoners were being driven miles across Essex to find empty cells.
As 2008 dawned, Essex Police were stretched to their limits with some stations reporting a 400 per cent increase in 999 calls compared with an average night.
The most serious incident police attended was a double stabbing in Colchester.
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At Colchester police station the custody suite was so full those arrested were being shipped out to Clacton.
This in turn meant one prisoner from Clacton was driven more than 50 miles to Rayleigh in south Essex to find an empty cell.
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Some cells even had two prisoners inside and reports of queues outside the back door.
Officers in Clacton answered 27 priority calls - four times the average amount - between 10pm on New Year's eve and 6am on New Year's day.
A spokesman for Clacton police said: “It was an extremely busy night.
“We have 27 priority incidents just for the night shift which is an awful lot to be dealing with.
“The cells were filled to more than capacity - we had people queuing at the back door to be let in.
“The whole of Essex has been very busy and all the custodies have been overflowing. We had someone taken to Rayleigh because we were full.
“We also had some prisoners two to a cell which we don't like doing.
“The incidents were still coming in this morning - a disturbance in Harwich at 6.50am and a drink driver who was resisting arrest at around the same time.
“It has been extremely busy for all the emergency services.”
Nearly all the incidents were domestic disputes, people being drunk and disorderly and minor assault as well as drink drivers.
However, the most serious incident was a double stabbing in Colchester where one victim was stabbed in the neck.
Two men were walking home from their New Year celebrations along Normandy Avenue, off Mersea Road, at 1.20am when they were allegedly attacked.
Both suffered neck and facial injuries and were treated at Colchester General Hospital.
Officers searched the area and arrested a man on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm.
He was still being questioned by detectives last night.
A 15-year-old from Colchester was arrested for driving a moped over the legal limit after colliding with a parked taxi at the junction of Queens Street and Priory Street in Colchester.
The accident happened at 4.20am yesterday when a police officer on foot tried to flag him down.
In Clacton, police were also looking for two men who tried to rob a reveller as he walked home in the early hours of the morning.
The victim was in St Osyth Road at 2.45am yesterday when he was approached by two men who demanded his mobile phone.
When the victim refused the pair tried to strike him but missed and he was able to run away.
Jim Flynn, duty manager for the East of England Ambulance Service in Essex, said it had been quieter than normal for New Years eve with 390 calls between midnight and 7am.
He added that no serious incidents had been reported by the night shift.