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Binge drinking costs nearly £5billion a year

Research by the University of Bath says binge drinking costs the tax payer billions Credit: PA: Dominic Lipinski

Research by the University of Bath and the University of Essex has concluded the effects of binge drinking costs the UK £4.9 billion a year.

Academics looked at a range of social and economic factors, including A&E admissions, road accidents, arrests and police officers on duty to come up with the figure.

The combined £4.9 billion total costs each person in the UK the equivalent of £77 per year.

The team estimates that binge drinking increases the average daily number of injury-related admissions to A&E by 8% - equivalent to 2,504 additional daily admissions nationally.

The average number of road accidents each day go up by 17% - equivalent to 82 additional accidents a day nationally - while they say the average number of alcohol-related arrests increases by 45%, which is equivalent to 786 additional arrests per day nationally.

Much is known about the effects and costs of sustained heavy drinking in relation to increased risks of chronic diseases, the damage to social relationships and the increased burden placed on public services. However, little is known about the economic and social effects of binge drinking.

We hope this calculation of the economic costs can act as a catalyst for policy makers in the UK to take targeted action that reduce the cost of binge drinking to society.

– Dr Jonathan James, University of Bath

To offset these costs the researchers suggest a 52p minimum unit price for alcohol and an increase in alcohol excise duty directly in line with alcohol strength should be considered. This could see a pint of beer increase by 23p, and a bottle of wine by 99p.

Because the pre-election period has now begun the Department of Health is unable to issue a response but suggests those concerned should look at its website for more information. Click here for link.

Gary Johnson appointed as Cheltenham Town manager

Gary Johnson appointed as Cheltenham Town manager Credit: Gareth Fuller/EMPICS Sport

Cheltenham Town have appointed Gary Johnson as their manager until the end of the season.

The former Yeovil Town and Bristol City boss takes charge with immediate effect.

On Saturday Cheltenham slipped to the bottom of the Football League.

With just seven games left in the season Johnson will be trying to preserve their Football League status.

On the Cheltenham Town website Gary Johnson says:

"I was honoured to be asked to take on the manager’s role at Cheltenham Town until the end of the season.

I am very happy to be working with Russell, Steve and Jamie (Victory). I understand the position the club are in and I will be doing my best along with Russell to keep the club in the Football League.

I am looking forward to getting started. I know the club, the staff and the players well and I am looking forward to getting into the swing of it and doing everything we can to succeed in our mission. It’s all hands on deck for the last seven games.”

– Gary Johnson

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Prime Minister visits Wiltshire

The Prime Minister has chosen Corsham in Wiltshire to begin his election campaign as the West is an important battleground for all the parties at this election.

Four of the Conservatives' top 50 targets are here in our region, including Chippenham and Wells, lost to the Lib Dems last time, plus Somerton and Frome and Taunton Deane, where the Lib Dem MPs have stood down.

Labour also have four top targets - looking to recover seats lost to the Conservaitives last time in Stroud, Gloucester, Kingswood and South Swindon in particular.

UKIP believe their best chance is in the Tory-held Forest of Dean, while on paper at least regaining Weston-super-Mare is a Lib Dem target, and the Greens have Bristol West in their sights having had a success at local elections there.

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Gloucestershire police officer a "controlling sexual predator"

A Gloucestershire police officer has been jailed for three years and nine months for having sex with three vulnerable women while on duty.

Darren Heath took advantage of his victims over an 11 year period, having sexual relations with three women and harassing another.

Heath had previously pleaded guilty to five counts of misconduct in public office.

On sentencing the judge said his actions had damaged the women and damaged the reputation of Gloucestershire Constabulary.

Detective Inspector Giulia Marogna gave a statement outside court.

Alex's Weather Blog: Pack for all occasions this Easter

Alex Beresford has some advice if you're in the South West this Easter.

If you're lucky enough to be jetting off to a sunnier climate then you can skip to the next article, however if you're on a stay-cation or holidaying in the South West of England over the next few days get ready to pack for all occasions as strong winds, rain, showers and sunshine are all in the forecast.

The main feature in the weather this week will be the wind which is set to peak this evening through to tomorrow blowing a gale, especially along western coastal areas where single gust speeds could hit 70 mph. Today's rain won't be lingering for long with winds this strong coming in from the west, although a splattering of showers will follow overnight.

Tuesday

Tomorrow a few showers are likely, but many areas will largely escape with a dry and fairly bright day, and if you can find a sheltered area out of the wind it won't be too bad a day when the sun comes out. On the coast however it'll feel much colder and the seas will be choppy.

Wednesday

If you're up early on Wednesday it'll be much like today. Dry and mostly sunny, however the same pattern will emerge. Cloud piling up and in off the Atlantic followed by rain spreading eastwards during the afternoon.

End of the week

Thursday and Friday will be largely cloudy with further outbreaks of rain or showers at times. The winds will ease, but it'll still be breezy, which in turn will make it feel fresher.

The Easter holiday weekend is still looking changeable, although this could change later in the week - so watch this space for the latest developments.

Woman in court charged with killing her newborn baby

Claudia Martins is accused of killing her baby immediately after giving birth.

A friend of a woman accused of killing her newborn baby has told a jury at Bristol Crown Court how she found the 33-year-old in a bath of blood.

The prosecution allege Claudia Martins secretly gave birth at her home in Knowle, Bristol, and immediately killed her baby before hiding it in a suitcase.

The court heard how the friend called paramedics soon after finding her in the bathroom. Martins claims the baby was stillborn. The trial continues.

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