Emergency services brace for booze-fuelled 'Black Eye Friday'

The last Friday before Christmas - also known as Mad Friday or Black Eye Friday - is usually treated as a party day Credit: PA

Paramedics, police and hospitals are braced for a traditional surge in binge drinking tonight, in what is fast becoming known as an annual 'Black Friday of booze'.

The last Friday before Christmas - also known as Mad Friday or Black Eye Friday - is often treated as a party day, with many office parties being scheduled for the date.

There was a reported 114 per cent rise in the amount of alcohol sold in pubs, bars and restaurants sold at this time last year compared to an average Friday.

Official figures show around £3.7 billion was spend on alcohol in England last December, with alcohol sales rocketing by 28 per cent between November and December.

And with the seasonal excess in mind, public health bosses are today launching a campaign to encourage people to go dry for January.

Official figures show around £3.7 billion was spend on alcohol in England last December Credit: PA

Kevin Fenton, Public Health England's director of health and wellbeing said England had seen a nine per cent rise in average alcohol consumption over the past 20 years, whereas the rest of Europe had seen a decline.

And with this increased consumption comes an increased risk of liver disease, obesity, cancer, dementia and other health problems related to excess drinking, he added.

Charity Alcohol Concern has been promoting Dry January for the past three years, and is now teaming up with Public Health England for the first time.

Charity Alcohol Concern has been promoting Dry January for the past three years Credit: PA

Charity chief executive Jackie Ballard said last year, more than 17,000 people took part - and around 72 per cent of them continued to drink sensibly once the month was over.