Page last updated at 00:54 GMT, Thursday, 1 January 2009

Thousands head for city's display

Fireworks in Exchange Square
The fireworks could be seen from Exchange Square (Pic: Philip Stewart)

Thousands of people have headed into Manchester city centre to celebrate a firework-lit New Year's Eve.

In the city centre, a 10-minute firework display set off from the top of the Arndale Centre offered revellers great views from Exchange Square.

It was the first time a display had been staged in the city centre since the millennium.

Greater Manchester Police had urged drinkers to be sensible with alcohol to stay safe.

The force says it was increasing its presence at all major nightspots across the county.

Safe route home

GMP also urged people to only dial 999 in an emergency. The force dealt with more than 5,000 calls between noon on Christmas Eve and midday on Boxing Day.

"A significant proportion of these were from people who did not need the police," a spokesman said.

Insp Chris Hill said: "New Year's Eve is our busiest night of the year and we want people to have a good time and enjoy themselves but to also take responsibility of themselves by pacing your drinks, sticking together with friends and plan a safe route home.

"People can make themselves vulnerable or make the wrong decisions when they have had too much alcohol so it's always worth having a soft drink in between drinks."

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