Greater Manchester Police is rolling out a virtual ID app to help retailers and pubs combat the sale of alcohol to underage customers.

The ‘IDApp4U’ app is being developed by two Manchester entrepreneurs and will be rolled out in a three-month pilot in Bolton from April, with GMP set to introduce it to other areas if successful.

The app works as a virtual ID card that holds information about the user including name, photo, address and date of birth. The data is verified by a third party the same way as a traditional ID card.

“Bolton is a good example of just how bad underage issues have become in the town centre,” said PC Natalie Dolan from GMP.

“The trial sends out a strong message to the trade and retailers that we are working hard to combat underage sales and that anyone allowing them on their premises will be dealt with.”

IDApp4U said it would also roll out free QR readers to businesses in the area that route retailers directly to the site should they require additional verification.

If successful, the company said it would ask the Home Office to consider the virtual ID as an “alternative to carrying around pieces of plastic”.