THERE is an increasing problem of underage drinkers using fake ID in the town centre, according to police.

Officers say more youngsters are being caught using other people’s driving licences and passports, or fake identification, in an attempt to get into pubs on Bridge Street.

PC Dan Gee, from Warrington Town Centre NPU, said police, Warrington Borough Council and pub owners are working hard to tackle the problem.

He warned underage drinkers to stay away and said many do not realise they can be prosecuted for fraud.

PC Gee said: “It's a criminal offence to use, lend or allow the use of your own or anothers driving licence or passport with intent to deceive.

“It is also an offence to alter these documents.

“We want young people to realise it's not worth putting your future at risk.”

Since police started working with the council in 2012, 71 youngsters have been invited to a police station, and 116 driving licences and passports have been returned.

A proactive approach has seen 178 pub staff trained, and 880 school children spoken to.

Sinead Dooley is chairman of Pubwatch, the group of landlords on Bridge Street, who work alongside police.

She said bars are clamping down on underage drinking.

“Nine times out of 10 our door staff spot ID being wrongly used, and our bar staff are told to ask as well,” said Mrs Dooley.

“I don’t think underage drinkers are aware of the implications if they try it.

“Our bar staff can also be prosecuted, which is why we’re so hard on it.”

A council spokesman said: "Warrington Borough Council works very closely with the trade and the police to increase awareness of the dangers of under-age drinking and the risks of using fake ID.

We impose conditions on licences to ensure that controls are in place at each premise and we provide free training sessions for the trade on how to spot fake ID.”