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A NIGHT OUT IN YOB UK; ORGY OF BOOZING AND BRAWLING, YES IT'S JUST..

Byline: GEOFFREY LAKEMAN, JEREMY ARMSTRONG and HUGH McKNIGHT

YOUNG thugs brawl in the street, glasses are hurled at cowering doormen while stag night revellers vomit nearby.

Welcome to yob Britain.

It's just a normal weekend, one that exposes the grim reality of our drink-fuelled culture.

As the country prepares for round-the-clock pub hours, towns and cities are struggling to cope with binge-drinking.

In Plymouth, they're even setting up a MASH-style field hospital to deal with the mayhem.

The government cannot afford to ignore the problems, particularly as a Home Office study reveals that 41 per cent of 14 to 16-year-olds have already admitted anti-social behaviour.

Today, the Daily Mirror reveals what we found at two ends of the country - on Saturday night in Newcastle and, because we had thought it would be quieter, on Friday and Saturday in Plymouth.

We show that while many people are just out for a good time, things can all too easily descend into drunken chaos...

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE

9.30pm: "If there's going to be trouble, the Bigg Market is where it will be," a doorman confides as Newcastle's infamous pub-crawl district fills up. Scantily-clad women are joined by stag and hen parties, rugby trips and travelling football fans.

The queues outside the bars are long and the heady mix of huge venues, crowds and booze is building towards violence.

10pm: As teenagers in souped-up hatchbacks cruise past, a group of lads accost any nearby women.

"It's payday so it'll be a good night," says bleached blonde Amanda Celino, 18, a beauty therapist from Gateshead.

"We're having a girls' night out. I've had a couple of vodkas and will have a few in every bar I go to, with shots on top. Then I'll have some more in a club. As long as the club sells alcohol, I'll be happy."

10.30pm: The Pig And Whistle, Cage and Kiss bars are all packed. Coventry City fans lap up the nightlife after the FA Cup clash with Newcastle United.

Couples snog in doorways as a drunken youth vomits nearby and his friends laugh. "It's his stag do," one says. "But he won't remember much of it."

12.30 am: Hordes of drinkers pour out of the clubs on the Quayside and Bigg Market.

An angry guy taunts the doormen at Kiss bar for ejecting him. Soon a shouting, swearing gang of nine of the man's friends gather and glass bottles start to rain down.

Women scream as the heavily outnumbered doormen take cover then see off the gang, who retaliate by hurling more glass missiles.

One man lies prone in the street, felled by a doorman's haymaker. An overweight woman screams: "Leave it, you've gone too far!" She then hits Mirror photographer Paul Kingston in the face with her bag.

Within minutes, four police vans and a panda car arrive to cart off the brawlers.

Five are cuffed and thrown, protesting, into the vans. A sixth makes a run for it but is dragged, kicking and screaming, into custody.

Five minutes later everything is back to "normal" as revellers crunch through the broken glass.

"There's no such thing as a typical night in the Bigg Market," one out-of-breath policeman tells the Mirror. "Friday night was fairly quiet and I hoped tonight would be the same. But you never know what will happen between midnight and 1am."

1am: A drunken thug tries to jump the taxi queue outside the Beehive pub. He punches the doors of a cab which had picked up three women.

When the next taxi arrives, he pushes the waiting women out of the way and clambers in. But angry at being photographed, he threatens our snapper then leaps from the car swinging his fists.

In the melee, Paul drops a lens, which is snatched by the man. The police arrive and the culprit is arrested while swearing with rage.

"This is a mad place," says a 42-year-old father-of-three, who works the night shift at a nearby print works.

"I've been working here for 11 years and I've seen a murder in the Bigg Market nearly every year," he confides.

"It's like working in the middle of a true-crime CCTV show - and I don't see it getting any better."

10pm Friday: The Strip is the name police give to Union Street and tonight scantily-clad girls and lads are pouring in to take advantage of "two-for-one" drink offers.

The first signs of trouble come when two drunks chase another man down the street. After a short pursuit, the two guys give up the chase and enter disco bar Flares.

In the clubs and pubs, you can see young sailors and rookie marines, rubbing shoulders with students and other young drinkers. They're all gulping down cheap booze. This is a seedy place where prostitutes and drug dealers ply their trades in back alleys.

10.20pm: Police officers, now out in force, caution a drunk about his aggressive behaviour. He stumbles across a busy junction causing traffic chaos.

More revellers stumble arm-in-arm, clutching two-litre Coke bottles, filled with booze. Men and women are literally falling in and out of the bars.

11pm: Police arrive outside Noah's Ark pub to find a drunken girl clutching a bottle of cider. She is put in the back of the van.

11.20pm: The man cautioned earlier is warned again after reportedly pinning down a guy on a car's bonnet.

11.25pm: Outside Kularoos sports bar, a man is lying unconscious with head wounds. Officers swarm around but no attacker is found.

12.05am: The bars are packed. Scuffles caused by queue jumpers erupt. The atmosphere is loud and tense.

2.10am: With clubs and bars calling time, thousands of boozed-up revellers fill Union Street. Rows break out but, surprisingly, there are no more fights. The police now carry out foot patrols.

3am As the neon lights to dim, a cop observes: "That's not an unusual night. When the clubs chuck out 2,000 people at 2am, they're all after the same three things - a cab, a kebab and a woman. They're tanked up and that's when all the bother happens."

10pm, Saturday: There's signs of revellers getting in the party mood. One man is found by police at a bus stop sitting in a pool of vomit.

10.40pm: Friends celebrating a woman's 21st help her hubby, who's unable to walk after binge-drinking. Military police officers, there to assist the normal beat patrol, arrive and the drunk is carried to a taxi.

12.20pm: Up to 10 officers follow up reports of a fight. By the time they get there, the brawl is long over.

2.15am: With the bars now closed, thousands pour out on to the street. Some want to settle scores. Outside the Halifax, seven men are brawling.

Traffic is halted as the fight spills into the road. Officers wade in and a man is handcuffed and led away.

One officer tells us: "It never ceases to amaze me the length that people will go to to get drunk. It's crazy. They just don't know when to stop..."

CAPTION(S):

CHAOS: A man is held after a fight in Newcastle's Bigg Market; PUNCH: Victim in Newcastle
COPYRIGHT 2005 MGN LTD
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2005 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 31, 2005
Words:1200
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