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Under 30s urged to drink less and enjoy more

An initiative to reduce drunkenness is getting underway in Warrington.

‘Drink less enjoy more’ is launching to encourage 18 – 30 year olds to drink sensibly and warns that they risk having their night out cut short as bar staff may refuse to serve them.

The initiative has been running in Liverpool since 2015, but now public health teams across Cheshire and Merseyside – including Warrington – are rolling it out in time for the Christmas party season.

The aim is to encourage young people to cut back on how much they drink at home before going out – so-called ‘pre-loading’ – as well as how much they consume when visiting bars, pubs and clubs in the town centre.

Drunkenness can have immediate health consequences such as alcohol poisoning and can make people more likely to do things they regret including criminal behaviour. People may also become more vulnerable in these situations and it places a large burden on health, police and other public services.

The initiative aims to raise awareness of the 2003 Licensing Act, which states it is illegal to:

  • Buy alcohol for someone who is clearly drunk
  • For bar staff to serve someone who is clearly drunk

Both offences are punishable with a fine of up to £1,000 and premises found to be serving people who are clearly drunk are also at risk of being stripped of their licence.

Cllr Maureen McLaughlin, executive board member for public health and wellbeing, said: “This important initiative is about encouraging young people to drink responsibly and educating them about the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption.

Pre-loading on alcohol before going out may be seen as a cheap option, but it can have a negative effect on your health and wellbeing. We want people to recognise that they can still have a good night out without drinking to excess.

As well as being about education, this campaign is also about enforcement. You could find that your night is cut short and you are refused entry to bars if you consume too much alcohol.”

As part of the campaign, Warrington Borough Council provided training for bar staff from town centre venues to raise awareness of the law, recognise fake ID’s and help staff to confidently refuse to serve people.

Around 50 members of staff took part in the training from six town centre pubs and bars including, The White Hart, Level Bar, Postern Gate, Showbar, Voodoo and Auction Rooms.

Richard Spedding, licensing lead for Cheshire Police, said: “Not everyone is aware that it is illegal to buy a drink for someone who is clearly drunk or for bar staff to serve someone who is clearly drunk and Cheshire Police is committed to making the night time economy safe for all and this type of behaviour can undermine that aim.

We want to encourage everyone to drink responsibly and enjoy a night out with friends in the town centre but we want to reduce violent crime and help to make Warrington and the wider Cheshire sub-regions even safer places for locals and visitors to enjoy.”

More information can be found online at www.drinklessenjoymore.co.uk.

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