ALCOHOL restrictions in York may be tightened in response to rising crime in drinking hotspots.

Statistics from North Yorkshire Police show the Back Swinegate area was the scene of 215 crimes last year including 51 assaults and three sexual offences.

There were 177 antisocial behaviour incidents, many of them drink-fuelled, which pulled police away from other parts of the city.

Licensing officers said violent crime, criminal damage, alcohol-related trouble and thefts in the area had increased over the last three years, and a fifth of all thefts within the Bar Walls have happened there. The area has 50 bars, pubs, restaurants and other licensed premises.

They want City of York Council’s Cumulative Impact Zone (CIZ) to be expanded to cover Back Swinegate, as well as Goodramgate and Fossgate which would make it harder for new premises to get a licence or for existing venues to stay open longer. A consultation on the issue ends next month.

Tim Madgwick, North Yorkshire Police’s deputy chief constable, and the council’s chief executive, Kersten England, visited city centre bars and restaurants on Friday evening as part of moves to improve York’s night-time economy while tackling anti-social behaviour.

Deputy Chief Constable Madgwick said: “We are committed to maintaining the balance between the majority who want nothing more than a fun night out and the small minority determined to cause trouble.”