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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 November 2005, 11:06 GMT
'Yob culture' costing companies
Drinks at a bar
AXA says new licensing laws could increase crime levels
Binge drinking and drugs have been blamed by businesses for a rise in crime against them, a survey has found.

The study by insurance firm AXA found more than half said so-called "yob culture" was behind burglary and anti-social behaviour.

A quarter of businesses, many of them retailers, said their biggest fear was being attacked at work.

AXA said the problems could get worse when new licensing laws allowing 24-hour drinking come into force.

Among the firms surveyed, 44% blamed drugs for crime against businesses in their area, while 31% cited binge drinking.

"Our research shows that businesses are living in fear of becoming the victims of crime, such as burglary and anti-social behaviour," said Neil Mercier of AXA Insurance.

"The problem (of violent crime) could get worse when new licensing laws allowing 24-hour drinking come into force.

"The companies we surveyed are already blaming binge drinking for fuelling violent crime."

However, a spokesperson for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport said that less than 0.5% of licensed premises had been granted a 24-hour licence.

The changes to the licensing laws come into force on 24 November.

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