Page last updated at 05:39 GMT, Friday, 30 April 2010 06:39 UK

Bangor Carnage pub crawl victim calls for law change

Mark Roberts, from Bangor, Gwynedd, who was assaulted by former Carnage UK organiser Ryan Hilton
Mark Roberts said the law was at fault for allowing the mass drinking events

A man who was knocked out by the organiser of a mass student pub crawl says there is a problem with the law that allows such events to happen.

Mark Roberts, 61, said events held by Carnage UK led to "binge-drinking and the mayhem" in university towns.

He pleaded for a judge not to jail Ryan Hilton, 23, over the assault in Bangor, Gwynedd, blaming lack of legislation.

Varsity Leisure Group, which owns Carnage UK, said it was "disappointed" to learn of Hilton's conviction.

The students' union in Wales said: "Carnage has no place on the streets of our university towns and cities."

Mr Roberts has said there was a "default in the law" which allowed Carnage UK to run the large-scale drinking nights.

I certainly know that North Wales Police have tried their utmost to rid the streets of north Wales of Carnage
Mark Roberts

The retired commercial diver, who lives near a number of student venues, was punched unconscious by Hilton, a 6ft 4in nightclub bouncer, after raising concerns about noise levels at an event attended by 1,000 students.

Hilton, of Muston, North Yorkshire, was given six months in jail, suspended for two years, and ordered to pay Mr Roberts £1,500 compensation and carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.

He pleaded guilty to assault last month.

The sentencing in Wrexham on Thursday heard that the judge spared him an immediate custodial sentence after Mr Roberts pleaded for leniency for his attacker.

'Problem'

Mr Roberts said: "In a sense, I see Hilton as a victim of his own company, of Carnage UK.

"I certainly know that North Wales Police have tried their utmost to rid the streets of north Wales of Carnage. Other university town police forces have tried the same but there is no legislation.

"It's still lawful for organisations like the Varsity Leisure Group, which owns Carnage, to take upwards of 2,000 students on a binge drink and get them as drunk as possible, for their profits. It's still lawful.

"That's where I see a problem with the law."

Hilton no longer works for the pub crawl firm and the court heard his conviction means he can no longer work as a doorman.

NUS Wales President Katie Dalton said the union had "always taken a strong stance against Carnage, which encourages binge drinking and puts the welfare of students at risk".

'Appeal'

She said: "This year we have been working with the Welsh Assembly Government to promote responsible drinking among the student population, and believe that Carnage has no place on the streets of our university towns and cities.

"Our first priority will always be the safety and wellbeing of our students and NUS will continue to work with students' unions to protect our members from being exploited by companies such as Carnage."

In a statement, Varsity Leisure Group said: "We are obviously disappointed to learn of the conviction and subsequent sentencing of Mr Hilton, a former subcontractor of Varsity Leisure Group.

"We understand that he is intending to lodge an appeal."



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SEE ALSO
Pub crawl organiser avoids prison
29 Apr 10 |  North West Wales
Pub crawl organiser hit man, 61
19 Mar 10 |  North West Wales
Pub crawl organisers come under fire
04 Nov 09 |  South Yorkshire
Carnage UK defends mass pub crawl
11 Nov 09 |  Oxfordshire
Concern over Carnage pub crawls
14 Oct 09 |  Devon

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