Blackpool Pubwatch has won the Diageo National Pubwatch Award, presented at the 20th annual All Party Parliamentary Beer Group awards.

The Blackpool pubwatch scheme which is chaired by Craig Southall, general manager of Blackpool’s Yates’s on Market Street, beat off competition from 480 other pubwatch schemes across the country to secure the award. He was presented with it by Brendan Lewis, Pubs Minister at a glittering awards ceremony which also saw Chancellor George Obsorne named as ‘Beer Drinker of the Year’.

The award recognises the importance of pubwatch schemes, which aim to achieve safer social drinking environments in all licensed premises throughout the UK and to reduce alcohol-related crime.

Blackpool Pubwatch, the largest in the country with ninety regular attending members has successfully introduced defibrillators in a number of member pubs along the promenade during the last twelve months. It has also created a sustainable ‘Late Night Crime Reduction Fund’, supported by regular donations from businesses in Blackpool, to fund night-time safety initiatives such as taxi marshalling and CCTV.

Commenting on the win Craig Southwall, “I am delighted to receive this award on behalf of my fellow Blackpool Pubwatch members and partners. Over the last 10 years Blackpool has seen a significant reduction in alcohol-related crime, so much so Blackpool has never been a safer place to visit for a great night out.

“The town has a high percentage of tourist trade which means that as licensees we face fairly unique challenges on a daily basis. By working together via pubwatch and with our partners such as the North West Ambulance Services, the Primary Care Trust, the police and licensing authorities, visitors to Blackpool can enjoy our pubs in a safe environment,” added Craig.