FESTIVE revellers are being warned not to cause trouble when they hit the streets for the busiest party night of the year tonight.
The last Friday before Christmas has traditionally become Hartlepool Police’s busiest night as workers celebrate the start of the holidays by hitting Hartlepool’s drinking hotspots.
But unfortunately the night often ends in booze-related disorder, leading it to be dubbed Black Eye Friday.
Police today warned anyone intent on causing trouble tonight will be targeted by an increased number of officers who will be patrolling the streets around the town centre, with a presence also being delegated to estates.
And as well as being banged up for a night in the cells, officers have the power to send people home and ban them from specific areas for 24 hours.
Inspector Carl Broughton, from Hartlepool Police, said teams of his officers will be visible and are prepared and on stand-by to deal with outbreaks of disorder.
He said: “We’re not killjoys, it’s just common sense. If you drink too much it alters the way you would normally respond to a situation – this can lead to trouble.
“Most people we encounter are good spirited and enjoying themselves, they have a laugh and a joke with officers.
“But there are also people who go out with the sole intention of causing trouble and starting fights.
“It’s these people that we will not tolerate.”
He added: “My message is go out, enjoy yourselves, but make sure it’s not steel bars you end up in front of because you might find yourself facing court in the New Year.”
On the same night last year police made five arrests and also slapped drunken yobs with a total of nine direction-to-leave orders issued in Church Street, Victoria Road and Lucan Street over the same weekend last year.
Revellers are being urged to have fun, but drink sensibly and make arrangements for transport home before heading out.