HIGH visibility patrols have been launched by police in a bid to keep the lid on the threat of trouble from Christmas revellers.
Special patrols around the main drinking circuits in Crewe and Nantwich are being supported by extra CCTV coverage and community wardens.
Police, fire, licensing and Trading Standards officers are also carrying out checks on bars, pubs and clubs.
A special Christmas-time taxi rank has been set up at the Avis premises in Nantwich Road to ease pressure points elsewhere. In Nantwich, an experimental rank has been created outside the Civic Hall.
Chief Inspector Peter Crow-croft, Operations Manager for Cheshire Police Eastern Area, explained: 'Taxi ranks are often flash-points in the early hours of the morning as people are eager to get home. Arguments develop, and because people have been drinking, they can easily become fights.
'The Nantwich Road and Civic Hall ranks are well lit and covered by CCTV, so potential trouble can be spotted early and dealt with.'
Over the past few weeks, officials from all the agencies have visited pubs, clubs, bars and off-licences advising staff on how to deal with the Christmas rush.
Cllr John Dwyer, portfolio holder for safer communities in Crewe and Nantwich joined Cllr Maureen Grant, the chair of the local Safer Communities Partnership in welcoming the initiative. He said: 'It shows the determination of the police and partners to ensure a safe and enjoyable festive season for all users of the night-time economy within the borough.'
Cllr Grant added: 'This demonstrates the close co-operation between all agencies and the licensed trade working in partnership to make Crewe and Nantwich a safer place to live, work and visit.'
Police say their warnings of a no-nonsense approach to rowdy and violent behaviour is already paying off.
Patrols in the pub, bar and restaurant areas of the two towns on Friday and Saturday night reported very few problems.
Sergeant Adam Butt, of the Crewe Community Action Team, said: 'Most people were behaving very well and just enjoying their pre-Christmas night out. That is what we want to achieve.
'We have made it clear that anyone who becomes violent or abusive will be dealt with firmly. They will face fixed-penalty fines or will be arrested.
'Licensees have a major part to play in this, too. There is a good relationship between most licensees, ourselves and the other enforcement agencies. The pub and bar managers know that serving people who are drunk is not only illegal, it is not in their interests or in the interests of their other customers.'
* Other police patrols were on the lookout for under-age drink-ers on the streets or other public places. On Saturday night, they seized alcohol from several teenagers in Crewe.