Warning over festive ‘pre-loading’

Chief Insp Julian Platt who is leading on the campaign for Eastern Division, covering the Longridge area.
Chief Insp Julian Platt who is leading on the campaign for Eastern Division, covering the Longridge area.

REVELLERS are being warned not to put themselves at risk by drinking excessively at home before a Christmas night on the town.

Getting too drunk before you leave the house can make you vulnerable and mean you are more likely to become a victim of crime – or commit booze fuelled crime and antisocial behaviour yourself.

As a member of the Safer Lancashire Partnership, Lancashire Constabulary is supporting the group’s festive ‘Make Your Night Last’ campaign in Longridge, which will run until the New Year.

The campaign is based on the findings of research*carried out by Lancaster University for the Lancashire Drug and Alcohol Action Team, which showed a rise in a trend called ‘preloading’- or drinking to get drunk at home before going to a bar or nightclub. The trend often leads to people becoming very drunk earlier in the night and increased levels of crime and other risky behaviour.

Billboards, along with posters in bars plus targeted advertising on Facebook, will all be used to spread the message that drinking too much before stepping out of the front door can seriously damage your night out.

A Facebook page has also been set up to encourage young people to share their tips on how they make their night last longer and safer, whether that is alternating alcoholic drinks with water or making sure your stay with your friends.

As part of Lancashire Constabulary’s own annual operation to prevent alcohol related crime, police will be carrying out highly visible patrols in the county’s town and city centres throughout December. Officers will be working alongside local licensees and taxi firms carrying out a range of activity including test purchase operations and licensing visits in a bid to reduce violent crime and sexual offences linked to alcohol.

Supt Bill McMahon, Lancashire Police’s lead on alcohol harm, said: “As more people tend to go out drinking over the festive period we often see an increase in alcohol-fuelled crime and disorder in the weeks leading up to Christmas,

“We will be carrying out high visibility patrols throughout December and into the New Year in order to prevent and detect alcohol related crime. The safety of people using our town centres at night time is of the utmost importance. This is why we are working closely with our other Safer Lancashire partners to make sure everyone has an enjoyable and safe night out.”

In East Lancashire police will also be carrying out test purchasing operations at off licences and pubs in the town centres to ensure alcohol is being sold responsibly.

Longridge County Coun David Smith, Chair of the Safer Lancashire Partnership added: “We really want people to enjoy themselves at Christmas so this campaign isn’t about removing the fun altogether. It’s more about encouraging people not to spoil their night by overdoing things before then even make it to a pub or club.

“When people get too drunk, they are more likely to get involved in fights, end up in A&E, lose their friends and possessions or accidentally cause a fire in their home. This can create a real headache for those who are left to pick up the pieces such as the police, medical staff and fire brigade.

They may be so drunk they wont even remember what happened but the people who have been left to clear up their mess definitely won’t remember it being a good night out.”

Visit www.makeyournightlast.co.uk and click through to Facebook to share tips for a top night out.

Anyone with information or concerns about alcohol related violence can contact police on 0845 1 25 35 45 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.