REVELLERS are being invited to join a pub crawl with a difference this Friday.

Darlington Council has joined with Pubwatch to organise an alcohol-free night out on the town in support of Balance and Alcohol Concern’s ‘Dry January’ campaign.

Fourteen pubs are taking part in the initiative and have been encouraged to promote soft drinks, serve ‘mocktails’ - alcohol free cocktails - and create an inviting atmosphere for customers to enjoy a night out without getting drunk.

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Councillor Andy Scott, Darlington Council’s cabinet member for health and partnerships, is joining the pub crawl.

He said: “We are seeing a significant increase in people young and old who are suffering ill health through alcohol abuse.

“Dry January is your opportunity to take stock and see if you able to go without alcohol for this short time.

“Your health, your weight and your wallet may just thank you for it.”

Miriam Davidson, the council’s director of public health, welcomed the initiative and highlighted the problems caused by excessive alcohol consumption.

She said: “The economic costs of alcohol misuse to Darlington is huge. There are other costs which are harder to measure, these include the costs to families or the damage to the future of young people as a result of alcohol related harm.”

The pub tour starts at 7pm at the Three Crowns and will make its way to the Tapas Bar, the Turks Head and the Tap and Spile on Bondgate.

Other pubs along the route include Yates and Tanners on Skinnergate, the William Stead in Crown Street and the Golden Cock and Joseph Pease on Tubwell Row.

The evening will finish at Harvey’s in Houndgate.

Would-be revellers can join the tour at any point and more information is available at darlington.gov.uk/alcohol