FORMER England rugby captain Will Carling was in Fleet on Monday to launch a campaign to tackle the unruly late night scrums that occur in the town centre.

FleetLink is being backed by Hart Council and the police who have revamped local connections between town centre pubs and shops, and improved the radio and phone-round system to help retailers keep out troublemakers.

The initiative will ensure that anyone who gets banned from one pub faces bans from all the others.

New radio links given to retailers means warnings about troublemakers can be passed on quickly to other businesses and to the town's CCTV control centre.

FleetLink is part of the Tackling Crime initiative spearheaded by Hart Council on behalf of the Safer Hart partnership and Will kicked off the scheme at a barbecue laid on by local publicans and businesses at The Emporium pub in Fleet Road, Fleet, on Monday.

Will, who lives in nearby Eversley, said: "I was taken up into the CCTV control room and it was awesome.

"Me and some of the rugby boys are due to come down for a drink because Lisa and I have just had a little one.

"I'm trying to get Jeremy Guscott down, so when I tell him he will be on camera all night he'll probably come along.

"Being keen on pubs myself it's great that people can go to them and a have a good time and feel safe.

"This is a tremendous initiative and I hope everyone will be signing up to it.

"I look forward to coming and enjoying some beers here because I've been promised they will all be free," he joked.

Posters will be appearing in bus shelters throughout Fleet and leaflets setting standard of behaviour expected in the town will be widely circulated.

Pc Rob Letch said: "FleetLink is better known as Pub Watch across the country.

"Everyone involved in FleetLink is working hard to create a safer environment for their customers and ensure that Fleet town centre is a safe place during the day and night.

"There has been a lot of effort to get the scheme up and running and the majority of licencees have joined the scheme.

"We hope to see some results in the not too distant future.

"There are still some pubs that are not involved in the scheme yet and this launch is to show them what they are missing out on.

"The pubs in the scheme have a direct link to the CCTV control room and the police so it will help us on our response times."

Cllr Sharyn Wheale, cabinet member for Fleet, said: "I am pleased that all these local initiatives are coming together to enhance town centre safety and encourage wider use of local facilities."