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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 June, 2005, 20:39 GMT 21:39 UK
Historic ferry cuts night service
People drinking in a pub
The council says it has a duty to protect the public
An historic south Devon ferry is reducing its hours at night because of fears over health and safety.

The Teignmouth to Shaldon Ferry has been operating for hundreds of years, but operators said there was not enough lighting to run the service after dark.

Teign Ferry Ltd said it was also experiencing a growing problem with aggressive drunks on the ferry.

Teignbridge District Council has altered the terms of the ferry's licence to reflect the reduced hours.

Sometimes a few can spoil it for the rest
David Beer, Teignbridge District Council
Council spokesman David Beer said it was a sad reflection of the times.

He told BBC News: "We do regret it, but a local council does have to take consideration of health and safety for the public at large.

"Unfortunately sometimes a few can spoil it for the rest, but we have to take the decisions that we think are best for everyone."

The ferry is considered to be one of the oldest in England and has been operating services across the River Teign since the 10th Century.

The first tolls were introduced by the Earl of Cornwall in the 11th Century, when he tool control of the ferry from the Saxons.

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