TWO people have been given lifetime bans from pubs in Huntingdon and two more have been banned for six months and 12 months as part of a new co-ordinated campaign to rid the town of its “rough” night-time image.

The four exclusion orders were agreed at by Huntingdon's newly-launched Pubwatch scheme.

Letters have been sent to all four individuals, warning them they will no longer be allowed into the town's Pubwatch venues, and pictures of them have been circulated to scheme members.

Eleven pubs/clubs have signed up to Pubwatch so far - Level 2 nightclub, Cromwells Bar, The Market Inn, The George Hotel, Samuel Pepys, The Three Tuns, The Barley Mow, The Sun Inn, The Victoria Inn, The Lord Protector and The Golden Knight.

Staff at each premises have been issued with two-way radios, which are all inter-linked, and have direct lines to the CCTV control room in Huntingdon and Huntingdon police.

Pubwatch chairman and manager of Level 2, Dave Ball, hopes the scheme will end the town's reputation for crime and disorder.

"Our regular customers say to us that Huntingdon is too rough."

"We are sending out a stark warning to all people involved in trouble that it will not be tolerated.

"We have brought everybody together to make Huntingdon a safe place."

Vice-chairman of Pubwatch Godfrey Kennedy, manager of Cromwells Bar Cafe, added: "Pubwatch is not about excluding somebody for a small issue. It is for those people who are continually causing problems.

"For the town it will make a big difference. A lot of people leave town [at night] because they deem it unsafe for them. We want people to stay here rather than go out to larger towns and cities."

Problem drinkers will be discussed by Pubwatch members at monthly panel meetings attended by the Huntingdon Community Safer Neighbour Team and Huntingdonshire District Council's licensing officer.

Each case will be referred to by a code. Members will then vote on whether to impose sanctions and their length. Pictures of banned individuals, provided by the police, will be circulated.

Inspector Ian Ford said: "Police are not involved in the voting process. As far as the police are concerned, the Pubwatch scheme plays an integral part in the overall strategy of the night-time economy. We are absolutely behind it."

Radios for the scheme, which launched earlier this month, were provided by Hunts Business Against Crime (HBAC) and an initial start-up grant was awarded by Huntingdonshire District Council's community safety partnership.

There are plans to extend the scheme to Godmanchester.

See Inspector's blog for more on Pubwatch - go to Hunts Life - Columnists