Thousands of lollipops are to be given out to drinkers in Witney, Carterton and Chipping Norton in a bid to stop fights.

A total of 5,000 lollies will be handed out to revellers by door staff of 60 premises on the Friday and Saturday nights before Christmas.

It is thought that the sugar rush bought on by the lollipops will calm people down.

The West Oxfordshire Community Safety Partnership - the police, the district and county councils, the magistrates, probation and youth offending services, housing trusts and primary health care trusts - have organised and funded the scheme, which will cost £1,175.

West Oxfordshire Local Area Commander, Chief Insp Dennis Evernden said: "Research shows the sugar content helps to stabilise the behaviour of those who have consumed alcohol.

"This should, in turn, reduce the chance of disorder and crime that often occurs in public places following excessive drinking. We hope it will lower aggressive behaviour and also reduce the noise from people shouting and swearing.

"Lollipops have been successfully used by forces elsewhere in the country to help to reduce alcohol-fuelled disorder and we hope it produces the same result here."

Andrew Battye, Ambulance Service operational manager, said: "When people drink alcohol their blood sugar level drops and there is not much sugar in a kebab - what people usually eat after drinking.

"It will help.

"However, it will depend on the temperament of the individual but it's definitely worth a try.

"If people have drugs in their system sugar can help calm things down."

Lesley Semaine, who runs the Royal Oak, in Witney, said: "I think people will like it, especially the girls. It's fun and people like anything they get for free.

"If they are having the lollipops and talking about that it might take their minds off doing something stupid."

The lollipops, which come in four different flavours, feature the Nightsafe logo.

Nightsafe, which aims to reduce alcohol-related violent crime and disorder, was launched in west Oxfordshire less than a year ago when the Licensing Act 2003 was introduced.

Since then the scheme has included test purchasing operations for underage drinkers, the introduction of the CCTV system in Witney and the launch of alcohol-free nights to school pupils.

The lollipop scheme has been trialled in Southampton.

The lollipops come in four flavours - blackcurrant, strawberry, orange and lemon.