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The 2016 figures for alcohol related deaths have been published by National Records of Scotland. The results show the number deaths last year to be 27 in Dumfries & Galloway, and 18 in the Borders.
This is an increase of at least one fatality in each region compared to 2015. Across Scotland as a whole last year, the number of alcohol related deaths rose by ten per cent from the previous year to 1,265 – the highest annual total since 2010.
It has sparked calls from BMA Scotland to raise national efforts to tackle the harms of alcohol misuse:
These latest figures showing a worrying increase in alcohol-related deaths last year make clear the scale of the damage caused by Scotland’s relationship with alcohol. It underlines why as a country we need to redouble our efforts to tackle the harms caused by alcohol misuse.”
People across the south of Scotland and Cumbria have been praised for their good behaviour on what is known as 'black eye Friday'.
The last Friday before Christmas is statistically one of the busiest of the year for emergency services, with many businesses finishing for the year and hosting their annual parties.
However, across Cumbria, Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders, there were very few incidents recorded.
In Dumfries, the Pub Watch scheme had no reports of any violence or misconduct throughout the night.
The group co-ordinator, Jackie Dickson, says she thinks people are beginning to listen to the message about being sensible with their alcohol consumption, and eating a meal before heading to the pub.
"It was a very busy night but it was trouble free. Everyone was in the festive spirit and enjoying themselves.
"We had two events running between Slipstream and the 102 Club and they were both well attended with no incidents.
"A lot of people were out but they were well behaved and had plenty of water too."
It was a similar story at another of the town's busy pubs, where there was a band night on.
"The atmosphere was great, everyone was having a good time without any issues and there were no issues from people i've spoken to on the same street.
"We would like to remind people however that violence will not be tolerated over the festive season and throughout the year, so urge everyone to stay in good spirits and enjoy their night."
Alcohol worth around £600 has been stolen from a supermarket in Dumfries.
Brandy, vodka and whisky was taken from the Tesco store, in Lockerbie Road, on Thursday 2 July at around 6pm.
Police Scotland are asking for the public's help to trace two men, described as:
- Mid to late 60s, with grey hair, of medium build, with dark rimmed glasses, wearing a green and brown striped polo shirt and dark blue dress shorts
- Mid 40s, with dark hair, of medium build, wearing a khaki coloured cotton jacket
The two men we want to trace in connection with this theft were seen to wheel away the drink in a trolley and appeared to be acting together.
This does appear to be a planned theft and we appeal to anyone who may have been in the store around this time to get in touch is they can help us identify them, through the usual 101 number."
Police are looking to speak to three men after £745 worth of alcohol was stolen from a Morrisons store in Penrith.
Several bottles of spirits, including brandy, Jack Daniels and vodka, were taken from the shop on Brunswick Road on Saturday 11 April.
Anyone with information about the men pictured in the CCTV images above and below is asked to contact police.
For some, festive fun over Christmas might involve a drink or two.
But the message from charities and the emergency services is simple - don't go too far.
There's plenty of advice available, if you've already got Christmas parties pencilled into your calendar:
- Drinkaware is a national alcohol awareness charity that can help you to cut down on your drinking
- Alcohol Concern also offers help and support
- Cumbria Constabulary will be out on the beat on streets across Cumbria, to help keep people safe. They're operating the 'Think Before You Drink' campaign
- Police Scotland will be doing the same in Dumfries and Galloway, and the Scottish Borders
- Street Pastors is a group of volunteers who offer help to people who have had too much to drink on Friday and Saturday evenings
- If you're driving, remember - the drink drive limit in Scotland is now lower than it is in England
Cumbria Police have revealed they targeted three bars in the city as part of a campaign to crack down on underage drinking.
A 16-year-old was sent into all three premises after police received intelligence they were selling alcohol to underage young people.
Of the three bars visited, one of them served the teenager without checking their age.
The bar which failed the test was issued with a £90 fixed penalty notice.
“I am disappointed that licensed premises continue to serve alcohol to underage drinkers, despite the fact that it puts the health of children and young people at risk.
"However, I was pleased to note that two out of the three bars tested did the right thing and challenged the young person and requested identification. We need all licensed premises to adhere to these standards.
“Our advice is to always ‘Ask, Challenge, Check’ – if in doubt, do not serve.”
Anyone with any information of premises who sell to underage children are asked to contact Cumbria Police on 101, or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
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