Celebrities are to blame for Britain's binge-drinking culture, according to Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin.

Examples of "poor behaviour" from celebrities are replicated by the public during birthday parties and stag and hen parties, Mr Martin said in a statement.

Pubs are under pressure from the government to sort out anti-social behaviour caused by drinking.

In a recent review of 24-hour drinking laws, recommendations included stripping pubs and clubs of their licences where rowdy behaviour is not controlled.

Although concern over drinking is right, Mr Martin said, the government crackdown on under 18's drinking in pubs and clubs is unlikely to solve the problem.

"Our view is that the central problems concerning people who misbehave when drinking are cultural ones," Mr Martin added.

"This is demonstrated by examples of poor behaviour by a number of celebrities during the recent televised Brit Awards and by habitual drunken celebrations in the context of sporting events and other occasions, which then receive huge press coverage.

"This sort of behaviour is not a new phenomenon, and is frequently replicated by the general public during birthday parties, stag and hen parties and so on."

Celebrity bad behaviour has been highlighted this week in a report from the UN, which accused the Police of turning a blind eye to the rich and famous who misuse drugs.

According to the report, celebrities can "profoundly" influence attitudes, particularly of young people.

07/03/2008 15:27:06