Old pub game's speed-drinking ban in Norfolk

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Players of an old pub game in Norfolk have been advised to not down pots of ale in case they breach a new law designed to curb binge drinking.

"Dwile flonking" competitors were expecting to swig ale at speed as a forfeit for not hitting each other with a dwile, a beer-soaked cloth.

North Norfolk Council warned the Dog Inn at Ludham that Saturday's game may be in breach of a licensing law.

Landlady Lorraine Clinch said players will down squash instead.

Dwile flonking traditionally involves players using a pole to hurl rags at opponents, then downing beer quickly as a penalty for missing.

Tokens for beer

North Norfolk District Council said the Licensing Act 2003 (Mandatory Licensing Conditions) Order 2010, which came into effect in April, made it illegal to promote "speed drinking".

"It is now against the law to promote 'speed drinking', which is one of the elements of dwile flonking," said Chris Cawley, the council's environmental health manager.

"These new conditions on liquor licences ban games that encourage drinking alcohol in such a manner."

He added: "We try to do all we can to help licensed premises run successful businesses, not hinder them, but at the same time we and they have a duty to uphold the law."

Mrs Clinch said players would adapt: "They'll drink squash and we'll give them tokens so they can drink the beer slowly afterwards. I suppose it will be the first non-alcoholic dwile flonking contest."

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