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Underage drinkers using fake ID face visit from police

Underage drinkers who use fake IDs or documents that don’t belong to them face having them confiscated – and a visit from police.

A new scheme in West Cumbria means pub and club staff who confiscate documents that are either imitations or being fraudulently used can deliver them to police.

Officers can then speak to the young people involved – or have a word with their parents.

The move is the latest drive to cut underage drinking in West Cumbria in a bid to protect young people.

IDs that are seized will be held at a police station.

They will only be released when officers are satisfied that lessons have been learned.

The scheme is firming up the arrangements around seizing IDs, taking the extra step of bringing in parents and providing clear guidance for the first time to licensees and staff.

Sergeant Mitchell Franks is the licensing officer for West Cumbria, he said: “This initiative allows licensees to firm up their practices for preventing young people from entering their venues or obtaining alcohol.

“It supports the licensing objective of protecting children from harm.”

The most common forms of ID used are passports and driving licences.

“These are often doctored or are used by a brother or sister pretending to be over 18,” said Sgt Franks.

“Young people need to understand that tampering with such documents and the use of them can be a criminal offence.”

He said it was encouraging to see how quickly the venues in west Cumbria were entering into the scheme.

“We have already had success in preventing underage people from getting into licensed premises.

“I am hopeful that all the towns in west Cumbria will engage in the scheme as it is rolled out.

“It already exists in Workington, Whitehaven and Cockermouth.

“This initiative is designed as a way to safeguard young people and prevent them from coming to harm by limiting the availability of alcohol.”

Sgt Franks added parents had a part to play in preventing their children drinking.

He said: “I would encourage parents to ask the difficult questions of where their children are of an evening – especially during the weekends, when most fake IDs are in use.”

Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall, said: “The problem of underage drinking is made worse when it becomes an acceptable culture and young people do it because their brothers and sisters did, their parents did and their friends and neighbours do also.

“Young people are using alcohol to fit in and it then becomes a habit and the normal thing to do.

“Underage drinking is a real problem, it can lead to health and social problems and young people can make themselves very vulnerable to abuse when under the influence of alcohol or other substances – the law exists to protect them, not to spoil their fun.

“Easier access to fake ID, fake passports and fake driving licences on the internet are also making underage drinking more accessible.

“While it is illegal to use a fake ID card, it is not illegal to make and sell them. However, it is illegal to tamper with official documents.

“I would like to remind anyone being caught with fake IDs that they will be confiscated, handed into the local police station and it is likely that they will receive a visit from the police.”

Wendy Hinde, manager at The Bransty Arch in Whitehaven, said: “While we have always been vigilant with proof of age and preventing underage drinking, the scheme sends a clear message that the licensees, licensing bodies and the police are all working together.

“We see safeguarding young and vulnerable adults as an important issue.

“This scheme sends a clear message that the individuals also need to take it seriously and realise there could be repercussions for themselves and others.”

Chris Poole, of Paduas in Workington, said: “Door staff are on the frontline of tackling the issue of false ID.

“It is essential they understand how to identify false ID and deal with it appropriately.”

Anybody interested in taking part in the scheme can contact Sgt Franks at Whitehaven police station – or on 101.

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