Police cite ‘strain’ as late drink bid for Lauder is rejected

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Alcohol-fuelled disorder at Lauder Common Riding puts an extra strain on “already pressurised” police resources.

Inspector Tony Hodges made that claim at ameeting of Scottish Borders Licensing Board as he objected to a bid by a local hotelier to keep his bar open until 2am this Sunday morning.

The board voted 5-2 to reject Daniel McKay’s application for the one hour extension at the Lauderdale Hotel – giving it closing time parity with the official Common Riding Ball which will be held simultaneously in a marquee in the Public Park.

Councillor Tom Weatherston backed the bid, claiming the hotel had once hosted the ball and that Mr McKay should not be “punished” for the event having been moved.

Inspector Hodges said, apart from the ball, all other licensed premises in the town would close at 1am.

He added: “Lauder Common Riding has a history of alcohol-fuelled disorder and last year was no exception. The problem seems to stem from the large number of people travelling from other towns. It puts further pressure on the already pressurised resources of Police Scotland. That strain is greater late at night when officers also have to deal with people exiting nightclubs in Hawick and Gala. The later the closing hour, the greater the strain.”

Supporting the police and the majority view was Councillor John Greenwell (Mid Berwickshire).

He said: “I had the misfortune to be travelling through Lauder late at night during the Common Riding and it was like driving through a war zone. It was quite frightening, with bodies lying all over the road. I think we have to take on board the concerns of the police because, in my view, extending drinking by an extra hour will just bring more problems.”