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Last Updated: Friday, 25 November 2005, 10:34 GMT
Open all hours: How it went
CarlisleNewcastleLeedsBridlingtonBirminghamLutonHerefordSouthamptonSwanseaTorbay
After weeks of anticipation, late licensing is now a reality for pubs, bars, shops and clubs in England and Wales.

Critics warned there would be an upturn in anti-social behaviour, crime and alcohol-related health problems. Supporters said it would offer greater freedom and "European" style drinking.

On the first night of extended hours there was little to suggest a sudden change in drinking habits. But many licensees were waiting to see what the first weekend and time would bring.

BIRMINGHAM: MARK EGAN

Generally it's been pretty quiet, police say there have been no major problems. Most door managers have said it has been slightly quieter than usual because of the cold weather.

Quite a few places have opened for an extra hour, saying they will leave it at that for a while and see how things go. The students' places here are busy as usual, and there is a higher than usual police presence, but there was a stabbing here a few days ago so that is probably the reason.

The general feeling is that there has been a lot of fuss about nothing.

BRIDLINGTON: SIMON SPARK

It's been pretty quiet. We have spent the night in the Pavilion pub, which has extended its hours from 0100 to 0200 on weekdays.

Numbers of drinkers out tonight are actually down, which may be due to the icy conditions. There's been no trouble, some people were saying it was great that they had time to get ready and didn't have to rush out.

The manager said competition was fierce in Bridlington and that, with people no longer needing to move so much between pubs and clubs, some businesses would end up closing down.

CARLISLE: STEPHANIE LLOYD

It's quite dead tonight, there's not that many people out at all. People are being sensible, they are not going mad or anything.

Apparently it's partly because of the weather - people have been hearing on the news that it's going to be really cold. Because of that it's a lot quieter than most Thursday nights.

There's one club here that has got a 24-hour licence, but the owners have said they won't actually be open for 24 hours, it's just to give them more flexibility.

HEREFORD: ROBIN PUNT

It has been a quiet night. Police said they had had one alcohol-related incident in which a young woman was taken to hospital.

Not one person I spoke to thought the new law would do anything other than add to alcohol-related incidents. They are in favour of the way the council here has handled it by staggering the closing times, but they see it as a bad law being administered as best it can.

Police feel extra pressure will be put on officers, who are expecting to have to deal with more incidents, and that there will be less of them available during the day.

LEEDS: SEAN STOWELL

It's very quiet here, it's just so cold I think people have decided to stay in. It's just the same as any other Thursday night.

A few people have stayed out longer for an extra drink, then just gone home. Many places in the city centre have later licences anyway, so the main difference is the pubs in the suburbs staying open for an extra hour.

Opinions are divided about whether the new laws are a good thing. The anti-student lobby in Headingley - where many students live - don't want it because they are already fed up with people vomiting in their gardens.

LUTON: ANNA BROWNING

Just after 0200 Luton shut for the night.

One bar, used to staying open until the early hours, closed at 0200 - as it did last Thursday. Down the street another decided to stay open an extra hour-and-a-half on a whim, but for most it was last orders by 2300.

Thursday is generally a quiet night in Luton, and the arctic November winds certainly weren't helping. All evening the streets were ghostlike with just a few hardened pub-goers prepared to face the elements for the privilege of a late-night pint.

NEWCASTLE: LUKE WALTON

It's not a particularly rowdy night. Although the centre of the city is noisy and there are a lot of partygoers and single-sex groups, those are the usual features of a Newcastle night out.

A lot of people have commented that it isn't as rowdy as it can be on a big night out. Many pubs and clubs were opening for an extra hour or two but there was a suggestion at least that some were holding back until the weekend.

The police said it was quiet and they were pleased there wasn't any trouble.

SOUTHAMPTON: CHRISSY STURT

The bars and clubs are not busy, there are some students around but that's about it. There are no obvious drunken marauding crowds.

A couple of groups we have seen have been up to high antics, but nothing out of the ordinary.

There are lots of police around, who are talking to licensees about how it's been going.

SWANSEA: TREEVA FENWICK

It's been fairly quiet and the snow is falling thickly. Police say the numbers out are nowhere near the 10,000 they can see out on an average night.

There were a few brave souls out throwing snowballs in very short skirts.

Police say they never really expected it to be a big night, particularly with the weather. They believe the real test will come over the Christmas and New Year period.

TORBAY: JOHN AYRES

We've had snow which I think has kept a lot of people away. A third of premises here have applied for extensions, but none has gone for 24 hours.

One police officer said they often called their 'extra police officer' "PC Rain" but tonight it was "PC Snow".

Thursday is a quiet night here anyway as people tend to save their money for the weekend, and the police didn't expect anything big tonight - the summer tends to bring more trouble.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
See revellers out on the first full night of late opening




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