Judges in England and Wales have warned that changes to the licensing laws will lead to an increase in violent crime. A paper from the Council of Her Majesty's Circuit Judges, which represents 600 judges, said: "Those who routinely see the consequences of drink-fuelled violence in offences of rape, grievous bodily harm and worse on a daily basis are in no doubt that an escalation of offences of this nature will inevitably be caused by the relaxation of liquor licensing which the government has now authorised." The Council of Circuit Judges made its comments in response to a Government consultation document, Drinking Responsibly. In an column in The Times, Judge Charles Harris QC said: "To facilitate this by making drinking facilities more widely available is close to lunacy." "It simply means that our town and city centres are abandoned every night to tribes of pugnacious, drunk, noisy, vomiting louts. The cost to the health services must be vast. The cost to those who try to live civilised lives in urban surroundings is huge. The take by the government in alcohol tax is no doubt excellent. "In my view we should express a very high level of concern indeed, and suggest that what is needed, as a start is a lot less provision of drinking facilities, not a lot more." Rob Hayward, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, said: "We have a problem. We have to address it as a society". David Davis, the shadow home secretary, said: "We need to call time on yob behaviour. "The Government should defer 24-hour drinking until it has got a grip on the problem of binge-drinking then only pilot it so that residents can see the consequences - and apply it appropriately." The Department for Culture, Media and Sport said: "The alcohol-related crime and disorder blighting our town and city centres is happening now, under the current regime. That is why the laws need to be reformed to tackle head-on drink-fuelled violence."