HEALTH chiefs have called for a minimum price per alcohol unit after figures have revealed 325 people in Warrington have died from booze-related causes in the past nine years.

Statistics also found 40 per cent of those deaths were during the last three years alone.

Warrington’s director of public health Dr Rita Robertson has said it is ‘extremely important’ people are aware of how much they are drinking and believes a minimum price would ‘target the heavy drinking problem which is responsible for most of the deaths’.

She added: “You don’t have to be an alcoholic to drink yourself to death.

“Many people simply do not realise the risk of drinking too much alcohol.

“The majority of people who die from alcohol are not alcoholics but they have drunk too much alcohol over a long period of time.”

Dr Robertson said that experts are concerned about the connection between alcohol becoming cheaper and more easily available and people drinking more.

She added: "The recommended limits are lower than many people think - two to three units for a woman and three to four units a day for men.

“It’s easy to forget that a pint of premium lager can easily be three units and a large glass of wine can be more than three units so it is all too easy to put your health at serious risk.”

Clr Pat Wright, the council’s executive board member for health and wellbeing, added alcohol is now sold at ‘pocket money prices’ and research has proved ‘the cheaper alcohol is, the more people drink’.

She added: “We are calling on the government to help save lives by introducing a minimum unit price of 50p per unit.

“This would put up the price of very strong cheap alcohol, which is mostly consumed by heavy problem drinkers, without penalising moderate drinkers who would only pay about 5p more per week.”