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
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Bruce Forsyth with Tess Daly in the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special
tvLouis Smith wins with 'Jingle Bells' quickstep on Strictly Come Dancing's Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there