A SUCCESSFUL scheme which helps pubs clampdown on crime and anti-social behaviour has been extended.

Pubwatch has been used by licensees in Bishop Auckland town centre as a way of sharing information and tackling any alcohol related incidents within the community.

Now police have rolled it out to the west of the town and the surrounding villages, including West Auckland, Evenwood, Etherley and Hamsterley; and all licensed premises have signed up to be involved.

Since the new Pubwatch, which is a voluntary scheme, was launched in December, more than 30 people have been barred from all participating premises, including the seven establishments signed up in the town centre.

Members are encouraged to share any problems they have had with individuals or groups of people visiting their premises and then they vote on whether they should be barred, and if so for how long.

At a meeting held at the Aclet pub, on Brooklands, Bishop Auckland, today (Thursday, February 13), members discussed how to tackle underage drinking, drug taking, fake banknotes and the best way to deal with anti-social behaviour.

They also voted in favour of banning nine people from their establishments after reports of incidents of fighting and verbal abuse.

PC Dave Greenwell, who helped launch the latest Pubwatch, said the scheme is extremely effective as it reduces the likelihood of problems manifesting in the village pubs.

He said it sends a clear message to people that anti-social behaviour and violent conduct influenced by alcohol will invariably lead to a ban.

“I think it is brilliant that we have 100 per cent of members,” he told licensees at meeting. “It can only get better with sharing information and keeping us (the police) in the loop.

“Both Pubwatch schemes in the east and west of Bishop Auckland are linked. This will make it more difficult for banned people to get into other premises.

“It will hurt a lot of people but that’s the sacrifice they have made and it is a consequence of their actions.”