Busy New Year’s Eve for police as Norfolk runs out of cell space

A night of celebration for thousands of revellers across Norfolk meant a 'remarkably busy' night for police in the county on New Year's Eve as they tried to deal with a barrage of alcohol-related disorder.

New Year's Eve is traditionally a busy night for the county's emergency services and so it proved with police admitting they ran out of cell space in the county at some points during the night.

A Norfolk police control room spokesman said: 'We were really busy and absolutely rushed off our feet. It was a remarkably busy evening overnight and into this morning. At 7am there wasn't a cell in East Anglia available.'

The spokesman said most of the problems the police had to deal with centred around rowdy public order offences and domestic-related incidents.

But he added that 'thankfully' there was nothing 'disastrous' or of any major consequence in terms of serious incidents where people sustained life-threatening injuries.

Elsewhere staff at Norfolk's hospitals have also been stretched to the limit over the party period.

Flu and other illnesses, including breathing difficulties, allied to the usual seasonal admissions, have contributed to bed shortages at hospitals in the county.

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The James Paget University Hospital, in Gorleston, was yesterday still on black alert, which means it is low on available beds to deal with the seasonal increase in illnesses.

A spokesman said: 'The hospital is still very busy but at the moment we're coping well.' Some operations have had to be cancelled.

A spokesman for the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital said the hospital was still on red alert although no operations have had to be cancelled.

'We're busy but its no different from other times of the year. Between Christmas and New Year GP surgeries are shut which has an impact on us, but it is business as usual.'

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn has also experienced a busy Christmas, with about 180 patients a day coming through the doors against a normal average of 140-150. Barbara Cummings, director of performance at the QEH, said: 'The hospital is still very busy and we're still on red alert, but we have got beds to admit patients.'

No surgical operations have had to be cancelled.

Elsewhere it remained a fairly quiet night for Norfolk's Fire and Rescue Service and the region's coastguard with few incidents of note.