Police crackdown on binge-drinking

THE scourge of binge drinking across Essex is to be targeted in a county-wide campaign launched yesterday. The sight of town centres filled with rowdy drunks, often swearing, fighting and hurling abuse has made many people reluctant to venture out during evenings.

THE scourge of binge drinking across Essex is to be targeted in a county-wide campaign launched yesterday.

The sight of town centres filled with rowdy drunks, often swearing, fighting and hurling abuse has made many people reluctant to venture out during evenings.

But in an effort to reduce the chaos on the streets, Essex Police have launched a “Take your beer goggles off” campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of drinking too much alcohol.

Drinkers will be given cardboard “beer goggles” which distort vision and cards showing images of a party goer before and after alcohol has taken its affect.


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Revellers who do not get the message can look forward to a giant projection of a campaign DVD beamed onto the side of the Jumbo water tower in Colchester on Friday evening.

Drinkers will also be able to text a helpline which will give them tips such as: “Mixing drink with drugs can be fatal”.

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In Colchester, police have taken a tough stance on drunks with less tolerance of troublemakers.

Chief Superintendent Dave Murthwaite of Colchester police said it was vital people were not frightened of coming for a night out in town.

“What we are talking about is having a less tolerant approach to the sort of behaviour we are seeing and businesses must take increased responsibility on this,” he added.

“It is really important to get the balance right between having a lively, vibrant community in our town which I love, but if we are not careful it becomes intimidating and disruptive to others.”

He warned the pubs offering cheap deals on alcohol were adding to the problems faced.

“Peddling cheap alcohol is going to be the death knell for Colchester if we are not careful,” he said.

Rob Brown, chairman of the Priory Street residents association, has long been accustomed to the trail of destruction left after revellers have a night out in the town.

He said: “We suffer the ramifications up to 4am as people hang around and walk back. People used to kick my garage door in on regular occasions.

“A lot of it is just simply noise, but the language is just unbelievable and cars have their windscreens smeared with meals and people climb the town wall.

“The licensing industry has encouraged people to do this with cheap drinks and we need more draconian measures against places which fill the kids up with alcohol and send them out onto the streets.”

Carl Howells, manager of the Hippodrome nightclub on Colchester High Street, said after working in places such as Southend, London and Newcastle, drinkers in the town were quite responsible.

He added: “Unfortunately it is always a very small majority of people who spoil it for the rest - the majority are high spirited and have a good time and head home.”

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