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Last Updated: Saturday, 26 November 2005, 11:48 GMT
'Business as usual' in city clubs
Police (generic)
Police say this weekend will be the first real test of 24-hour drinking
Police in Surrey and Sussex said it was business as usual in town and city centres on the first Friday night since the new licensing laws came into force.

Many bars and clubs stayed open an hour or two later and some places - mostly supermarkets - sold drink all night.

Supt Kevin Moore said there were "a couple" of arrests in the Brighton clubs but door staff were taking responsibility for ejecting people.

"The work we've been doing at various premises is paying off," he said.

Surrey Police said the cold night had helped to keep things calm.

"Most places opened for an extra hour but payday isn't until next week and that's the start of the Christmas drinking," said Insp Mervyn Robins.

Forces across the South East said the first weekend since the introduction of new licensing laws would be a big test.

The 48-hour period was an "unknown quantity", with thousands of bars, pubs and clubs intending to extend their hours.

Alleviate trouble

On Thursday, the first night under the new laws, only a handful of pubs and clubs in Kent and Sussex took advantage of 24-hour drinking.

Brighton bar manager Richard Pattinson believed the new staggered opening hours in the city would alleviate trouble often associated with the traditional last orders.

"Rather than 200-300 people piling out of a club at one time it will be staggered and people will leave earlier of later."

More than 8,000 applications for licences to serve alcohol around the clock were made across Kent and East Sussex, but only 66 were granted.

However, a further 4,350 were given extensions to their licences, usually for an hour or two.


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