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Pub owners and managers in Portsmouth were demanding to see teenagers’ passports to prevent serving alcohol to under-aged drinkers.

Since a change in licensing law putting the onus on landlords to ensure they were not illegally serving alcohol, firm proof of age was asked for in pubs across the city.

The Whitbread brewery advised all its managers that driving licences – and even birth certificates – were not good enough.

The brewing giant recommended passport checks as the only real safeguard against a fine or loss of licence.

Dave Shedlow, a manager of the Cosham Whitbread pub The Portsbridge, said in the absence of identity cards, landlords had no choice but to insist on seeing passports to make sure drinkers were over 18.