WARRINGTON Borough Council and Cheshire Police are aiming to cut down on revellers ‘pre-loading’ before a night out in the town, and have issued a warning that drunk punters will not be served by bar staff.

Ahead of the Christmas party season, the council and police have launched an initiative aiming to get 18 to 30-year-olds to drink sensibly.

They are hoping to discourage people from pre-loading – drinking at home before going out – and have warned that anyone who is intoxicated risks having their night out cut short as bar staff may refuse to serve them.

Cllr Maureen McLaughlin, Warrington Borough Council’s 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 about enforcement – you could find that your night is cut short and you are refused entry to bars if you consume too much alcohol.”

Dozens of staff members from six town centre venues – the White Hart, Showbar, Level, the Auction Rooms, Postern Gate and Voodoo – have taken part in training sessions with the council and police as part of the scheme.

Richard Spedding, licensing lead for Cheshire Police, added: “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.”