TEENAGERS are resorting to tampering with their own passports in a bid to get a drunk in city centre bars.
The desperate teens are doctoring their documents and providing them as proof of age when quizzed by bar staff.
Police say they have now seized a number of passports and driving licences as they crackdown on the worrying new trend.
They have warned that anyone found with forged documents faces arrest and prosecution. This also applies to people using someone else’s passport or driving licence.
Inspector Mick Hall, of Northumbria Police, said: “Using ID with false information is a serious offence.
“Anyone caught could find themselves arrested and end up with a criminal record, which could affect their future before they’ve even finished school or college.”
Bar, club and shop owners say they have been shown documents in recent months that have had dates of birth obviously changed. Other teens have also tried to pass off other people’s ID as their own.
All altered documents and passports seized by police will now be cut up and sent to the Passport Office or relevant agencies to be destroyed. The owners will then have to apply and pay for a new passport.
Insp Hall added: “If they’re altering official documents, like a passport, they’re not just breaking the law, but when it is confiscated will have the expense of getting a new passport as well as having to explain it to their family.
“Not only that, anyone lending their passport or other ID to someone else will find it also gets confiscated and destroyed.
“Breaking the law and using fake ID is a big price to pay just to get served in a bar.
“There are plenty of other activities for young people to get involved in, and we’d urge them to do so until they are old enough to be served alcohol legally.
“The laws are there to protect them and it’s simply not worth the risk using fake ID.”
Sunderland made national headlines this week amid concerns that young drinkers in the city centre were out of control. The city was also unveiled as the booze death capital of Britain, with 36 people drinking themselves to death in 2010.
The North East also topped the league table for regions with the highest alcohol death rates, with 22.6 men per 100,000 compared to 21.3 in the North West and 13 in the South East.