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Tube madness as drinking ban ends in 17 arrests

POLICE arrested 17 people and closed six London Underground stations following chaotic scenes after thousands spent Saturday night partying to mark the last day of drinking on the Tube, British Transport Police said.

The alcohol ban came into effect on the Tube, London buses, Docklands Light Railway and tram services across the capital banning people from drinking and carrying open containers of alcohol.

The measure was announced earlier this month by London mayor Boris Johnson.

Four train drivers and three other London Underground staff were assaulted, one police vehicle was damaged and two officers assaulted and another injured.

A spokesman for the police said 17 people were arrested for offences such as assault, public order-related offences and drug offences.

Police closed Liverpool Street, Euston, Euston Square, Aldgate, Gloucester Road and Baker Street tube stations.

A police spokesman said the force ran Operation Rowan, centred around policing of the Circle Line because of the planned gathering.

The spokesman said there was a “large amount” of disorder reported to police and “multiple instances” of trains being damaged.

Photographer Desmond Fitzgerald, 48, from Croydon, said the noise at Gloucester Road station at 11pm on Saturday night was “like a rowdy football crowd” and said he feared someone would fall or be pushed into the path of an oncoming train because the platform was packed with people and slippery from spilled alcohol.

He said: “At first the atmosphere was happy but anarchic, defiant. People had party hats on, they were having a good time, but were so drunk.

“When I got on the train it was worse than rush hour, and with every station it went through, more and more heavily drunk people seemed to be getting on.”

The celebration got under way at 8.30pm from Liverpool Street Station amid some confusion due to severe delays operating on the Circle Line following an earlier incident.

Eyewitnesses said nightmarish scenes later developed on trains and in stations as thousands of drunken partygoers began fighting and vomiting as the night drew to a conclusion.


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