Page last updated at 15:28 GMT, Monday, 22 December 2008

Street performers help cut crime

Stilt-walkers and fire-eaters have been employed by police to help reduce public disorder in Staffordshire.

The four-hour, circus-style, street performances took place in Newcastle-under-Lyme at the weekend.

The aim was to distract night-time revellers and reduce the likelihood of fights breaking out in the town centre, Staffordshire Police said.

Similar strategies had previously been employed by Greater Manchester Police with success, the force said.

The street entertainment was accompanied by police foot patrols and evidence gathering officers.

A force spokesman said: "The operation was a great success and had the desired effect of vastly reducing the number of arrests officers had to make during the evening.

"A lower number of prisoners mean more officers are available to respond to calls from the public."

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