MERSEYRAIL passengers have been banned from drinking alcohol as part of a crackdown on anti-social behaviour.

A change in the law means passengers are not allowed to carry alcohol or drink it on any part of the network.

Last year, Merseyrail wrote to the Department for Transport to encourage them to do this. A four-week consultation, carried out in December, revealed no objections to the proposals.

Previously, Merseyrail outlawed the carrying of alcohol at specific times and locations, for example in the run-up to Christmas, during Aintree Races, the Liverpool International Music Festival and Orange Lodge parades.

According to railway bye-laws, people in an unfit state to travel can be asked to leave railway premises.

In a statement, Merseyrail said: "Just a fortnight ago, one of our customers thanked Merseyrail staff from discouraging him from travelling on our trains while under the influence of alcohol the previous evening.

"Under our Travel Safe policy introduced two years ago, Merseyrail helps passengers who are considered unfit to travel or in a vulnerable state.

"Staff look out for people who have trouble standing steadily or those that display disorderly, indecent, offensive or aggressive behaviour, or who are verbally abusive. It covers all passengers, not just those who have been drinking.

"If station or train staff see that a person is a danger to themselves or to others, they discourage him or her from travelling and advise them to find another way of getting to their destination.

"If necessary, Merseyrail staff arrange assistance from Carlisle Security or the British Transport Police."