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SIMPLY STAGGERING; Worst night of booze carnage EVER ...welcome to Xmas UK.

Byline: Keir Mudie ; Kathryn Tye

THESE shocking pictures show the fallout from one of Britain's worst nights of Christmas carnage.

The nation had more than 20,000 ambulance call-outs on a night of drunken shame costing taxpayers pounds 10MILLION.

The devastating number of 999 calls was up by as much as 50 per cent compared with a normal weekend night as emergency workers battled through so-called Mad Friday.

A People investigation uncovered shocking scenes on ambulance workers' busiest night of the year.

Paramedic Brian Hayes, whom we accompanied on a nightshift from hell, said: "I've never seen it like this before. It just seems to be getting worse. It's like a war zone."

Phil Guthrie, part of the London's N366 ambulance crew and a paramedic for 11 years, said: "It was carnage out there. It looked like a disaster movie.

"People don't realise the pressure they're putting us under."

Across Britain we saw casualties from under-age teens to pensioners needing costly emergency treatment after getting so drunk they were unable to stand.

Last night Tory MP Nick de Bois stormed: "We should charge these people for NHS care costs they burden the taxpayer with."

Politicians and health experts also hit out at cheap supermarket booze which they believe is the main cause of the problem.

Slurred Labour's shadow health secretary Andy Burnham told The People: "'It's not just the pounds 10million, it's the wider cost to society.

"One of the first things that has to be tackled is the problem of supermarkets selling alcohol below cost. "It means people are getting loaded up before they even get out of the house and that has to be a factor in what we are seeing."

In LONDON alone there 5,143 ambulance call-outs, compared with an average of around 4,000.

Our reporter joined the crew of an NHS "Booze Bus" deployed to come to the aid of party casualties.

We watched as a sozzled 33-yearold company director being treated by an ambulance crew slurred: "I love my wife but I love cocaine and drinking as well."

Revellers were cared for at temporary clinic the London Treatment Centre which opened last Thursday in Soho and has 10 beds.

Our photographer looked on as a Sri Lankan man in his early 20s was dragged into a wheelchair after he was found in a booze-soaked heap on a pavement.

The reveller had been vomiting uncontrollably after a session at a nightclub.

Another youngster collapsed in a sick-strewn heap near the capital's famous Palladium theatre.

And we snapped a 68-year-old grey-haired company boss slumped in a car outside a posh West End hotel.

Although his wife insisted she could manage him, he began to vomit red wine down his evening wear and was taken to the clinic for observation, wrapped in a blanket.

er a Another drunk pensioner - a 64-year-old woman - was found comatose in a hotel room described by crews as "an horrific scene".

Paramedic Brian added: "There's no upper or lower age limit. You can't believe people get into these states. They just don't know when to stop." 20,000 The nationwide of ambulance on Mad of Sarah Barret, an alcohol counsellor working at the walk-in clinic, added: "This is just a massive problem and it seems to be getting worse. Selling cheap booze is a real problem. People don't realise what they are doing to themselves."

them In CARDIFF a Mashstyle field hospital set up at the city's Millennium Stadium was full.

number call-outs Friday night shame Patients included a man pouring with blood after he was glassed at his office party. His distraught girlfriend said: "We were just out enjoying Christmas and everyone started kicking off."

A woman in an expensive-looking party dress was sitting helplessly in a wheelchair after a savage fall, while a student had deep cuts all over his face after a nightclub brawl.

The Welsh Ambulance Trust, which covers the city, had 700 call-outs - almost double that of a normal Friday night's 400.

In NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE a young woman in stilettos crawled along the street on all fours after toppling over. The girl, who appeared to be alone and vulnerable, was ignored by passers-by.

There was a bizarre scene as a girl sprawled in the road was comforted by another girl dressed as an angel.

The North East Ambulance Service, which covers the city, which was thought to have dealt with around 2,500 calls.

In MANCHESTER, where ambulance calls were up more than 50 per cent, one clubber exposed himself before urinating in the street.

Nearby another man was sprawled on the ground surrounded by three cops. North West Ambulance Service, which covers the city plus Cheshire, Merseyside, Lancs and Cumbria, had 1,862 calls - up from 1,200 on a normal Friday night.

In BIRMINGHAM another mobile hospital was set up in the city centre as West Midlands Ambulance Service received 1,166 calls - equal to a 999 call every 30 seconds.

had s Calls ranged from people who had been out celebrating and had been injured from trips, falls and rows, to people who had been drinking and become unwell. There were also assaults and serious car accidents.

In YORKSHIRE there were 2,070 callouts, well above average. pounds The cost to medical the night's rampage EAST OF ENGLAND Ambulance Service, which had 3,423 callouts, said: "We dealt with a lot of drinkrelated incidents." SOUTH CENTRAL Ambulance, covering Berks, Bucks, Hants and Oxfordshire, were called out 1,700 times.

M10M Britain of treatment for drunk Many revellers were suspected of "preloading" - bingeing on large quantities of cheap supermarket drink to avoid paying sky-high pub prices.

Next year a ban on selling drink at below cost price comes into force. Last night the body which represents Britain's biggest supermarkets denied the stores were to blame. Sarah Cordey, of the British Cardiff Birmingham OUT OF IT: Pal holds drinker Battle on prices DAVID Cameron is under increasing pressure to introduce a minimum price for alcohol.

And while the PM is keen to stop cheap booze deals in supermarkets he says he is being stopped by EU competition law.

But Scotland is pressing ahead with plans to make drink cost at least 45p a unit in defiance of European objections.

A unit of alcohol is half-a-pint of ordinary beer, a glass of wine or a nip of spirits.

If Scotland wins its battle then MPs say minimum pricing should be introduced in the rest of the UK to save 10,000 lives a year.

That would mean whisky could not be sold below pounds 12.60 a bottle, wine less than pounds 4.50 and a pint of beer would cost at least 90p.

Some supermarkets sell cider at the equivalent of 18p a unit and beer for 17p. Meanwhile pubs charge up to pounds 3.50 for a pint of ale.

Retail Consortium, said: "The majority of alcohol bought from supermarkets is part of a weekly food shop for enjoying at home.

"People do not generally buy drink from supermarkets to consume immediately.

"Supermarkets have led the way in introducing clear unit labelling on alcohol.

"Tackling problem drinking is about changing the culture and providing assistance direct to the minority who need it. Retailers are not to blame."

peoplenews@mgn.co.uk Voice of The People: P14 20,000 The nationwide number of ambulance call-outs on Mad Friday night of shame of pounds 10M The cost to Britain of medical treatment for the night's drunk rampage Manchester

CAPTION(S):

UNCONSCIOUS: On pavement SICK SIGHT: Man is helped to his feet at Portland Place LEGLESS: A nightclub drunk in Covent Garden FALLEN: Girl with angel pal Revellers on Friday Fogged on Tyne A sozzled girl crawls along a city street on her hands and knees, alone and vulnerable and ignored by passers-by HELP ME: She can't get up STUPOR: Girl hugs her pal CRASHED: Drunks at London clinic
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Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Dec 18, 2011
Words:1323
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