Over 200 ID documents seized in crackdown on underage drinking

DOORSTAFF at Cambridge nightspots have seized more than 220 identification documents including driving licences, passports and foreign ID cards in a crackdown on underage drinking.

The scheme, which is run in partnership with the police licensing department, targets those who lend ID documents to friends or siblings in an effort to help them trick their way into pubs and clubs.

The bailment seizure system is operated by major venues: The Regal; Ballare; Revolution; Kuda; Lola Lo and Fez Club.

Youngsters have also been caught trying to alter their dates of birth on their driving licences, or sticking their photos over the top in a crude attempt to pass them off as genuine.

Now, police are warning those who lend ID documents to underage friends or siblings that they could face prosecution.

Cambridge city licensing officer PC Pete Sinclair, who set up the scheme, said: “People who are considering lending their ID documents should think long and hard of the consequences they could face. Not only will their ID be confiscated, they also risk ending up with a criminal record.”

Those who use altered documents, or try to pass off others as their own, could also be prosecuted for under the Identity Cards Act, the Fraud Act or the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act.

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Offenders could face a large fine or even a spell behind bars.

PC Sinclair said: “Underage drinking not only has a detrimental effect on the health of the individual but it can also lead to an increase in crime and anti-social behaviour.

“We have seen youngsters who have managed to get served alcohol ending up collapsed in the street or have become separated from their friends and lost their mobile phone or other property and have been unable to take care of themselves properly or get home.

“Our local pubs and clubs all know the tell-tale signs of an altered ID or those that are being fraudulently used.

“Venues like The Regal and Revolution also use a sophisticated ID recognition scanning device (Scannet) which can not only spot fake driving licences or passports, but also identify fake international identity cards. This is obviously extremely useful in such a cosmopolitan city.

“All owners of seized ID have to collect their documents in person at a police station and are spoken to in one of the police interview rooms where they are advised that their details have been recorded and should their ID be seized again prosecution would be the likely option the next time round.”

Any seized passports not collected are returned to the Passport Office and driving licenses are sent to the DVLA, meaning the holder then has the added expense of having to get a replacement.

Offenders could face further questioning from the two agencies of the use of doctored documents.