Blackpool and Torquay hit by alcohol-fuelled violence

Violence erupted in two seaside resorts during the weekend leaving one man dead and another in a critical condition.

Violence erupted in two seaside resorts during the weekend leaving one man dead and another in a critical condition.

In Torquay a 20-year-old was stabbed to death during street clashes involving up to 40 people, while in Blackpool a holidaymaker was punched outside a pub and then hit by a car.

The incidents came days after Tony Blair launched the Government's five-year plan on law and order that includes a crackdown on yobbish behaviour and alcohol-fuelled violence. A rise in the number of cases of violence recorded by the police has been partly blamed on the British culture of binge drinking.

In the first incident, two groups of youths in the south Devon resort became involved in a street battle after the pubs had closed on Friday night. Witnesses reported to police that the fight started when youths got out of a car and confronted a rival group who had been shouting at them. A brawl followed in which weapons were used, including knives and pieces of wood with nails sticking out of them.

Benjamin Crews, 20, died after being stabbed in the neck. Devon and Cornwall Police yesterday named Sean McNamara, 17, as a suspect they wanted to talk to about the death. The two young men are understood to have been friends, but they had fallen out in recent weeks.

Detectives believe the teenager may be injured and was probably given a lift in a camper van to the West Midlands, possibly to Birmingham where his family come from, during the weekend.

A police spokesman said that the resort had a problem with fighting among drunk pub and club-goers, but that a gang culture had not taken hold in the town. Local people have previously complained of violence in the same part of Torquay and police were called about a fortnight ago to break up a dispute between youths.

In Blackpool, the attack took place outside the New Road Inn pub where Phillip Langton, 25, a holidaymaker from Manchester, and his assailants had been drinking. Mr Langton had been involved in an argument with two younger men when one of them punched him in the head, a spokesman for Lancashire Police said.

The holidaymaker then fell into the path of an oncoming car on Talbot Road, Blackpool, at about 8pm on Saturday night. It is not clear whether he was deliberately thrown or stumbled onto the road. Mr Langton was taken to the Royal Preston Hospital where his injuries were described as life-threatening.

Police yesterday appealed for witnesses to the fight to contact them.

Last month David Blunkett, the Home Secretary, told MPs: "Anti-social behaviour, binge drinking and lower-level thuggery continue to blight the lives of too many people. We must change the culture of violence. Respect needs to be restored, responsibility and duty accepted, and parenting seen as an essential contributor to changing behaviour."

Among the initiatives announced was the recruitment of 20,000 extra community support officers to carry out street patrols and £80 fixed-penalty fines for under-age drinking. The police have also launched a series of summer operations at almost 90 areas where alcohol-fuelled violence in a problem.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
SPONSORED FEATURES
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones