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FESTIVE troublemakers have been warned they face Christmas in a cell unless they behave tonight.

On what is expected to be one of the busiest nights of the year in Sunderland city centre, extra police patrols have been drafted in.

Chief Superintendent Kay Blyth, Sunderland’s leading police officer, said: “We want people coming into the city centre to enjoy a night out to be able to do so safely.

“It’s fair to say that the majority of people don’t go out looking for trouble, but alcohol changes people’s behaviour and we want to remind them not to spoil their night by not staying in control.

“Situations can quickly escalate when people are drunk, and arguments can quickly turn into fights with people who would ordinarily stay out of trouble ending up hurting someone or getting arrested.

“We also want people to take care of themselves. Being too drunk can significantly increase how vulnerable they are and we don’t want people in a situation where they’re risking their safety.

“We want people to have fun but not let being too drunk ruin their night.”

In a bid to help people stay safe, a digital advertising van has been circulating the city to help spread the message.

Officers have also been on hand to dish out credit card-sized personal safety cards, which include advice on how to stay safe.

Neighbourhood Inspector Neal Craig, who covers the city centre, said: “Our aim is to make sure people have a safe Christmas and can enjoy the festivities.

“Taking a few moments to plan how to get home and sticking with friends can all help.

“We don’t want to spoil the fun but make sure their night out isn’t ruined by too much alcohol.”

Durham Police are echoing the call for revellers to stay safe after a 23-year-old drunken man was taken to hospital after being found collapsed at Strangford Road , Seaham, in freezing temperatures.

Sergeant Jim Peel, of Seaham Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “We want people to be careful when they’re out, make arrangements to get transport home and to bear in mind the weather.

“People should also not drink to excess, of course we want people to enjoy themselves and have a good time, but they should look after themselves and each other.”

For more information on how to stay safe and remain in control of your night, visit www.facebook.com/keysmoneyphone or follow @NorthumbriaPol

Twitter: @sunechochief