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Axe 24 hour booze law

PUBLISHED: 15:36 05 March 2008 | UPDATED: 09:32 23 August 2010

A MAN who was stabbed five times by booze-fuelled yobs on the doorstep of his own home says the sale of alcohol 24 hours a day should be stopped. Andrew Gayfer, 49, of Colstead, New Ash Green was stabbed repeatedly, twice from behind, and smashed over t

A MAN who was stabbed five times by booze-fuelled yobs on the doorstep of his own home says the sale of alcohol 24 hours a day should be stopped.

Andrew Gayfer, 49, of Colstead, New Ash Green was stabbed repeatedly, twice from behind, and smashed over the head with a beer bottle in September 2006.

Today he speaks about the shocking attack as the government announces a review of licensing laws but maintain 24-hour drinking laws.

In January this year, Lee Prescott, 20, of Farm Holt, New Ash Green and Charlie Dickson, 22, of Riverview Close, Greenhithe, were found guilty of wounding with intent to cause GBH, and were sentenced to four and six years respectively.

Mr Gayfer, who needs to return to hospital for further surgery on one of his knife wounds, said: "If they hadn't been drinking I don't think this would have happened to me.

"The attack still haunts me today and it has hit my family hard.

"Drinking lowers the inhibitions and although it doesn't cause violence, it aids it. This drink culture has changed, when I was young we used to drink, but we didn't get violent.

"I would like to see the government bring an end to 24-hour drinking. It seems that it is much more readily available.

"The price has lowered, which allows for more consumption. So often we hear about underage drinking."

Prescott and Dickson were part of a gang that gathered outside the Gayfer family home at 2am after an argument with their son.

Mr Gayfer went outside to confront the group and was attacked as he ran back to his house just a few footsteps from his door.

His wife, Deborah, 44, said: "The gang that attacked Andrew had been out to a party and they had been drinking most of the day, they went to the local pub for a top up.

"They think they can take on the world when they've had a drink and that is when the attack happened. It is dreadful.

"Not only should they get the law back to how it was, but they should crackdown on underage drinkers. The price of alcohol is now so low that anyone can buy it."

This week the government reviewed the Licensing Act 2003, which allows pubs and clubs in England and Wales to apply for 24-hour licences to serve alcohol.

They announced they would keep the 24-hour drinking in place, but crack down on landlords and shopkeepers breaching licensing laws, and the sale of drink to under-18s.

Mrs Gayfer added: "The attack still lives with us every day. Our children are wary of going out. It shouldn't be like that, we should be able to live day-to-day without fear of what might happen."

BOSS SLAMS LATE LAWS

COUNCIL boss has blasted 24-hour drinking laws, claiming they have failed to introduce a continental café-style culture in the borough's streets.

Mike Snelling, leader of Gravesham Borough Council, said he would like to see an end to 24-hour licensing laws, which were brought in with the Licensing Act 2003.

His comments come after Sir Simon Milton, chairman of the Local Government Association, said on Monday the idea that late night licences would end binge drinking had failed.

Mr Snelling said: "When I was leader of the opposition, I deplored the use of 24-hour drinking laws.

"I did not believe that they would contribute to the café culture that the government thought it would, and today I am as convinced of this fact as I was then.

"I think the initiative might work in tourist areas, but I wouldn't consider Gravesham one of these areas. The 24-hour drinking laws just gives people the opportunity to carry on drinking for longer.

"I'd like to see us move back to the previous laws."

The government is expected to publish a review of the Licensing Act this week that brought in 24-hour licensing laws, but Gordon Brown has said the review will not bring an end to 24-hour drinking, and instead will crack down on alcohol sales to under-18s.

Sir Milton said police resources were getting stretched because of violence and disorder caused by late-night drinking.

He said: "Violence and disorder, which are the things the act was supposed to tackle, have not reduced by anyone's measure.

"All that has happened is that it has been pushed later into the night. The police feel very strongly that their resources are being stretched."

He also warned that councils were virtually powerless to stop the spread of 24-hour drinking.

Mr Snelling added: "I would like to see more powers given to local authorities to govern the laws on licensing.

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