A RUNCORN MP has vowed to give up booze for a month to highlight the dangers of alcohol.

Weaver Vale MP Graham Evans has pledged to support Dry January, a 31-day campaign to promote alcohol misuse.

As vice chairman of the all party beer group, he says he enjoys a pint but has already lost six pounds, drinking water and herbal teas.

He said: “I want to raise awareness of the problems that drink causes to people’s health. The cost the health service is immense, not to mention the crime and anti-social behaviour that the police have to give up their time to deal with.”

Mr Evans said he was shocked by the extent of alcohol abuse he witnessed on the streets of Runcorn when he went out on patrol with the police.

He said:”We came across people who were completely off the rails, they had drunk so much. But, credit to the police, they don’t arrest unless they have to. Instead, they direct them to other agencies and try to help them. I was very impressed by the way police handled people who had been drinking.”

To gain more insight into the problems facing alcoholics, Mr Evans was invited to an AA meeting.

He said everything members said was confidential but he was overwhelmed by the charity’s ability to encourage alcoholics to talk openly about their problem.

Mr Evans said: “It was the most moving experience of my life. What struck me was how normal they all were. They could have been my colleagues, neighbours or family members. There were horrendous stories. You don’t realise there are so many problems.

“I would urge anyone who wakes up in the morning and needs a drink to seek help. The AA does a lot of good work. Happily, a lot of people come through it.”