WITH the world cup just around the corner, Cleveland and Durham Police have kicked off their summer drink driving campaign.

To help get their message across they enrolled the help of three footballers including former Middlesbrough, Manchester United and England star Gary Pallister, Hartlepool’s Lewis Hawkins and Jordan Jowers, from the MFC Youth Academy team, to test their skills.

And in an attempt to help persuade football fans to leave their car at home if they have been staying up late drinking while watching world cup games, they donned a pair of beer goggles to test out their skills.

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After trying out the challenge, the former Boro legend said: “It was much harder than I expected. When you went to kick the ball you could see two feet and two balls and you weren’t quite sure which were the real ones.

“The beer goggles help to get across the message that it is dangerous to drink and drive as is shows how much alcohol impairs your vision.”

The main focus of the campaign will be younger drivers, although all drivers are being reminded that they could still be under the influence of alcohol or drugs the morning after.

Young Hartlepool player Lewis Hawkins also struggled with his ball skills, he said: “It was really difficult to control the ball because you couldn’t really tell which one was the actual ball as you could see two all of the time.”

While Boro academy player Jordan Jowers added: “I thought it would be difficult but didn’t expect it to be that hard – the ball was going all over the place.”

The campaign is times to coincide with the start of the World Cup in Brazil where games will be played into the early hours of the morning.

Chief Inspector Alison Jackson, head of the Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit, said didn’t expect people not to have a good time but warned them to think of the consequences.

“If you are found to be over the limit the next day you will be dealt with and prosecuted for the offence just as if you had got behind the wheel when intoxicated at the time. Driving in this state could easily lead to a serious or fatal crash because the driver is still affected from last night’s alcohol. Our message is simple - don’t risk it,” she said.