PARENTS are being urged to "take an interest in where their children are" as police get to grips with an increase in underage drinking in Lyme Regis.

Officers want parents to help them tackle underage drinking in public after finding a very drunk girl on a bench - with more than 200 youngsters in the town centre for an event on Friday night.

PCSO Luke White said: "The point I am trying to get out to parents is that they need to take an interest in where their children are and what they are doing.

"I have spoken to parents who have believed their children were in other towns, being supervised by a friend's parents. One even believed that she had had a text from the friend's parent confirming that her daughter was safely at the friends house. In actual fact the daughter and friend were in Lyme drinking."

Officers collected a host of abandoned alcohol bottles after youngsters "legged it" when they saw police coming their way.

PCSO White added: "A 15-year-old girl was sitting on a bench on Marine Parade vomiting and unable to string a sentence together.

"When we arrived, her so-called friends made a swift exit, going on their ay to the party being held in the town.

"Her friends were more than happy to leave her on her own in the cold for the next two and a half hours until their taxi was due."

Police are calling on the Lyme Regis community to work together to help solve the problem.

PCSO White said: "Whilst appreciating that underage drinking is not a new thing, it is a few years since I have been finding teenagers so drunk that they are vomiting in the street at 9pm.

"Everyone in society has a responsibility to keep our children safe, and so by publicising the fact that we are seeing an increase in underage drinking in Lyme, my hope is that conversations can be had to reverse this trend and keep our young people safe."

Dr Richard Steward, headteacher of the Woodroffe School said that although the incidents are likely to involve pupils from the school, the town is "a magnet for teenagers from all over the area".

He said: "We have an extensive personal, health and social education programme which covers all aspects of keeping safe and staying healthy.

"It covers drugs, sexual matters, lifestyle choices, healthy eating and exercise - and a key part of the programme is alcohol education. This is a topic which is covered in assemblies too."

He added: "As pupils move up the school, they explore more complex topics, like the effects of alcohol on mental health.

"Alcohol is more often considered under broader heading such as substance abuse but it is certainly something that students are encouraged to consider throughout their time in school."