A bid to curb drinking hours to tackle alcohol-fuelled crime was backed by councillors last night.

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Police hope to stop alcohol being served in Norwich in the early hours by using a new power called an early morning restriction order.

Under the order, drinking could be cut short at 2.30am or 3am. The move to impose the ban went a step further last night when Norwich City Council’s licensing committee overwhelming approved the proposal put forward by Norwich policing commander Superintendent Paul Sanford.

He told the committee: “We know that crime has increased after 3am.

“That problem manifests itself in increased risk, increased suffering and a really negative impact on people who live around the night time economy.”

The order will now go before the full council on November 27 and, if approved, a public consultation will begin on whether or not to cut licensing hours.

The order would control when alcohol can be sold across the whole of Norwich, with police putting forward two alternative proposals.

One would see the sale of alcohol in Norwich banned between 3am and 6am every day, with the exception of the area designated by the council as the late night activity zone, chiefly Prince of Wales Road and Tombland.

In that area the sale of alcohol would be banned between 3am and 6am Monday to Friday and between 4am and 6am at weekends.

The second proposal would stop alcohol sales between 2.30am and 6am, apart from in the late night activity zone, where the sale would be banned between 3am and 6am Monday to Friday and from 3.30am to 6am at weekends.

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