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|According to this card, Sam Smith's 12-year-old son is 18
Underage binge drinking in the UK is an escalating and well documented problem, but the rise in fake identity cards sold legally on the internet, is only helping fuel the dilemma.Mac Best Sweet Iphone Ipad App For — The Setup And Journaling g1AgY6S
Inside Out meets binge drinkers as young as 14 who are using fake ID cards to buy alcohol.Bish Valid Data For uk Address – Testing Uk co qrEwrY
"Most people our age drink and you drink to fit in and then it becomes a habit and the normal thing to do," says one 14-year-old.
A park in Exeter and at first glance, all appears normal. A group of 13 and 14-year olds are in high spirits, larking about.
But as high spirits begin to spiral out of control, a closer inspection reveals many of the children are not sipping fizzy drinks, but alcohol, and in some cases hard spirits such as vodka.
During the course of the evening, two of the children - a 13-year-old boy and a 14-year-old girl, drink themselves to the point of collapse and are taken to hospital by ambulance.
|Children as young as 13 are drinking strong spirits
It's a shocking scene and one that presenter Sam Smith, whose son is only a year younger than some of these kids, finds extremely distressing.
"I was really shocked and upset by the state these children got themselves into," she says.
"I couldn't believe how they got hold of alcohol in the first place. I soon realised that these fake ID cards were one of the reasons it is so simple."
Several children in the group admit to having fake ID cards purchased over the internet.
One 14-year-old girl claims she uses it every day to buy alcohol and cigarettes.
|"I was really shocked and upset by the state these children got themselves into."
|Be Our Log • • L · On Ua~~ Sure • I Friday id Online To Edition • Inside Out presenter, Sam Smith
The cards are both convincing and readily available to web savvy teens.
To Edition • Log I · On Our id • Friday L • Ua~~ Be Online Sure • To discover just how easy it is to obtain ID cards, Sam asks her 12-year-old son George, to apply online.
It takes George less than two minutes to fill in the application form online, selecting a fake date of birth to increase his age from 12 to 18.
• • On · Sure Edition • id Ua~~ I L Be Online To Log Our Friday • He then sends a passport photo, £10 and the card arrives two days later - no questions asked.
The website boasts that one of its fake cards is more successful than the "Prove It" card - the official ID card of the alcohol industry.
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|Susannah puts the fake ID cards to the test
Put to the test
Susannah Owen is a young-looking 18-year-old who, armed with a fake ID card purchased over the internet, attempts to buy alcohol in eight different shops.
Three out of the eight stores challenge her to prove her age - but they all accept the fake card as genuine.
Plymouth Co-Op supermarket store manager Zoe Hammett, explains that the member of staff correctly asked for proof of age from Susannah, but was fooled by the fake ID which she produced.
"Your investigation is a real eye-opener," says Co-Op Corporate Relations Officer, Paula Meagor.
"These cards are worryingly convincing and we are now retraining our staff in how to spot them."
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The average amount of alcohol drunk by 11-15-year-olds in 1990 was 0.8 units per week. This rose to 1.6 units in 1998.
In 2002, 18% of 11-15-year-olds drank at least once a week.
Fifty six percent of 15-16-years-olds admit to having drunk more than five units on a single occasion.
Statistics show that by the age of 13, young people who drink outnumber those who don't drink.
Studies suggest that young people combine alcohol and sex and that there is a link between drinking before sexual activity and unsafe sex.
Sixteen percent of school attendees, who had committed crime, stated they had been under the influence of drink when committing the crime.
Source: Alcohol Concern
Loophole in the law
The manufactures of these cards may be offering underage teenagers the opportunity to buy alcohol and are a cause of great concern to retailers, but they are not in fact, breaking the law.
Whilst it is illegal to use a fake ID card fraudulently, incredibly, it is not illegal to make and sell them.
Inside Out tracks down the operators of one website selling ID cards, Sumo Monkey Ltd, based in Macclesfield.
The website manager Ryan Stanley tells Inside Out that illegal use of what he terms, "novelty cards", can happen, but that the firm is not going to stop selling them.
The government insist that the introduction of the proposed national ID cards would provide a secure system for retailers to verify age.
Until the production and selling of fake IDs is made illegal however, a bottle of alcohol and the consequences of a night of underage binge drinking is sadly only a couple of mouse clicks away.