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Cosmo&Nanu

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Europe's biggest beer festival has been hit by the credit crunch - with 500,000 fewer visitors to this year's Oktoberfest in Germany than last year.

But those who did go drank more and harder than ever before, statistics from the event revealed yesterday (Monday).

Local Red Cross officials in Munich say the number of revellers who needed treatment for alcohol poisoning or severe drunkenness was up by 20 per cent.

Festival goers - 6.4 million of them - downed nearly seven million litres of beer.

Police say they were stretched "beyond our limit" with 1,400 crimes and 2,000 emergency calls.

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