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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 November, 2003, 13:40 GMT
Licensing hours cutback call
Aberystwyth Pier
Some nightclubs have been allowed to sell drink until the early hours
There is a call for the number of late licences in Aberystwyth to be cut back following a steep rise in violent alcohol-related crime over the summer.

Violent attacks more than doubled in the resort and the trend has been put down to the number of clubs selling alcohol - some till 0200 GMT.

The director of an alcohol and drug treatment agency has now called for late licences to be reduced.

Maureen Fyffe, director of Cyswllt Ceredigion Contact, believes that the expansion of licensing hours in the last year has increased alcohol-related problems.

There is obviously a rise in inappropriate behaviour and I am in favour of cutting back licensing hours
Maureen Fyffe, Ceredigion Contact

The agency has seen the number of people referred to it for help double over the last twelve months.

Abuse

Dyfed-Powys Police are trying to get an alcohol ban on the streets of Aberystwyth by next spring in the wake of the steep rise in violence.

Ms Fyffe believes the extended opening hours are causing problems.

"There is obviously a rise in inappropriate behaviour and I am in favour of cutting back licensing hours," she said.

"I am aware that there is an increase in violent crime and I believe the best way to deal with the problem is to educate people and access resources for individuals."

Regional AMs and the MP have also urged caution over the number of premises selling alcohol late at night.

Maureen Fyffe
Maureen Fyffe wants licensing hours reduced

"I don't think extending licensing hours was a wise move," said Lisa Francis, an Aberystwyth town councillor and Mid and West Wales AM.

"But now that this is in place it is difficult to decide which establishments should or shouldn't get licenses.

"Another problem is that there is only one taxi rank well away from nightclubs.

"We need to get people into taxis as soon as they come out of clubs to decrease the number of people walking the streets late at night."

Social problems

Ceredigion's MP Simon Thomas said with a new licensing law about to come into force, care will have to be taken over the number of places that are allowed to sell alcohol late at night or for a low price.

And Ceredigion AM Elin Jones said the root cause of the rise in violent crime was the aggressive marketing campaigns of drink producers.

"These campaigns romanticise alcohol to such an extent that people don't realise the effect it has on individuals and society."

From April licensing issues will be transferred from the magistrates courts to local authorities.

"If late night premises are contributing to social problems we will review the situation," said Huw Williams is Ceredigion's assistant director of environmental services.

"We can't take a late-night licence away without reasonable grounds for doing so.

"But if the police provide us with information about problems then we will act on it."




SEE ALSO:
Town centre alcohol ban call
30 Oct 03  |  Mid
Drinking ban 'a success'
01 Oct 03  |  Southern Counties
The cost of binge drinking
18 Oct 03  |  Southern Counties
Street drinkers get yellow card
12 Sep 03  |  Northern Ireland


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