‘Focus on rugby, not drinking’

HARROGATE centre Luke Edwards was told to concentrate on his rugby rather than going out and getting drunk, when he appeared before the town’s magistrates last Thursday.

Twenty-year-old Edwards pleaded guilty to being drunk and disorderly and was fined £170 with £85 costs and a £15 victim surcharge with presiding magistrate Susan Robinson telling him: ‘‘Stay out of trouble.’’

The court had heard Edwards, of Leeds Road, Harrogate, had been convicted of a similar offence earlier in the year, for which he was conditionally discharged and had been given a community order with 100 hours of unpaid work and £350 compensation for two counts of assault in May.

Prosecutor Katie Varlow said Edwards’s latest offence had occurred at 1.45am on October 23 while door staff at a bar in Parliament Street were struggling with a man.

He was being restrained on the ground and when police went to assist bouncers Edwards arrived on the scene aggressively, telling them the man had done nothing wrong.

Mrs Varlow said police had been prepared to issue Edwards with a directive to leave the area but he had told then he was not going anywhere. And after unsuccessful attempts to calm him down, he was arrested.

Edwards, who was not legally represented, told Mrs Robinson he had just left a bar when he ‘‘stumbled upon this fight’’ and tried to break it up. ‘‘I thought I would do the right thing,’’ he said. ‘‘But when the police came I was abusive and out of order.’’

He said his parents had told him on a number of occasions that drinking got him into trouble. But he had been in denial, though he had now decided he would not run the risk of offending again.

‘‘The police’s job is hard enough as it is without people like me going out getting drunk and taking up their time for no valid reason.’’

He said he realised he had to stop drinking if he wanted to carry on with his career and his rugby.

Mrs Robinson agreed. ‘‘You have stood here today and told us how upset you are to be here yet again. You realise now drink is at the root of your problems. You have upset your mother and put your career at risk.

‘‘You are quite right, the police do not want to be bothered by people like you. They have other things to do. Play rugby instead of drinking and concentrate on that.’’

Harrogate news