A LEADING Durham academic is to give a lecture on drinking and its effect on people's behaviour and the city's economy.

Durham University sociology professor Dick Hobbs, an expert on crime and criminals, will give the talk to the City of Durham Trust.

Professor Hobbs made national headlines earlier this year when his research on bouncers and the "night-time economy'' was published.

There has been a flood of applications to open bars and pubs in the city in the past few years - several have been proposed as part of the Walkergate development that will help fund the £29m Millennium City development.

The trust has opposed several applications - including the demolition of Brown's Boat-house and expressed the fears of city centre residents that more watering holes will lead to further violence, noise and vandalism.

The trust is also concerned at Government plans to modernise the licensing hours by abolishing statutory hours and the separate systems for drink and entertainments licences.

Trustees fear the proposals will make it harder to object to licence applications or to curb premises that are the source of trouble.

A trust spokesman said Prof Hobbs' topic "could hardly be more relevant, given the escalating number of licensed premises in Durham and the trust's recent activity in the magistrates' court.

"There is, moreover, concern at the proposed change in licensing legislation while next month sees a local inquiry into the proposal for the city's biggest public house."

The lecture will be given on Saturday, October 7, in Elvet Riverside 1, Room 141, starting at 2.15pm.