Brawls mar Anzac celebrations

A STRING of ugly alcohol-fuelled brawls, inside and outside licensed premises, put a black mark on an otherwise trouble-free Anzac Day in the Hunter yesterday.

Lake Macquarie police were kept busy with fights sparking in Main Road, Edgeworth and Cardiff.

Licensed premises in Edgeworth chose to turn off the taps and eject all patrons after an altercation occurred about 5.35pm.

A police spokesman said people were involved in a fight there but the group dispersed after a large contingent of police arrived.

NSW Ambulance officers treated several people at the scene for minor injuries. No one was arrested.

Police from throughout the Hunter and Central Coast were called to brawls at licensed premises in Raymond Terrace, Hamilton, Belmont, Woy Woy, The Entrance and West Wallsend during the afternoon and early evening.

Police pointed to early closing times bringing an end to any violence but were still alarmed at the number of intoxicated people walking the streets.

Hundreds of revellers flocked to inner city pubs to raise their glasses and propose a toast to Australia's Diggers or try their luck at two-up.

The Cricketers Arms in Cooks Hill was a popular spot for punters wanting to wager some of their hard-earned cash.

Central Hunter Duty Officer Angela Burnell said police were concerned about the number of people who ran the risk of drinking and driving last night.

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