Surge in underage drinkers using fake ID in Norwich

Soaring numbers of young people in Norwich are using fake identification to get hold of alcohol, according to police who have launched a clampdown on underage drinkers.

Since the beginning of the year, police have seized more than 600 items of ID, including fakes in the city.

And they say across Norfolk there has been a sharp surge in the number of reports of people using false identification to buy drinks. PC Richard Spinks, from Norfolk Constabulary's licensing regulation team, said: 'We are seeing more and more cases of false identification being used by underage drinkers in order to enter pubs and clubs as well as to buy alcohol.

'It is important for young people to realise that when presenting false ID they are committing a criminal offence for which they can be fined or even sent to prison.

'People over the age of 18 who lend their ID to someone underage are also committing an offence. We don't want to criminalise young people. However, we will be taking action against persistent offenders.'

Police have gone to the homes of six young people found to have used fake ID and PC Spinks said: 'The young people have all been given suitable words of advice and their parents are taking steps to make sure it doesn't happen again.

'The parents have been grateful for our involvement as many were unaware their children were in possession of false ID. Aside from the health risks underage drinking poses, it can also make young people increasingly vulnerable and increase their chances of becoming a victim of crime.'

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Police are working closely with staff at licensed premises and door supervisor companies to help them recognise fake and misused ID. Legitimate identification seized by police is sent back to the authorising agency; for example a driving licence will be sent back to the DVLA and there is a cost for it to be returned. Police said people are committing an offence when using ID that belongs to someone else, altering their existing ID or using a fake ID.

Last month a Wymondham teenager became the first in the county to be prosecuted under new laws aimed at combating underage drinking.

The 15-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was taken to youth court after receiving 'three strikes' for being caught with alcohol in public places in a five-month period and was given a six-month conditional discharge.

Do you think underage drinking is a growing problem? Write to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email