ALCOHOL cost the lives of 149 people in four East Lancashire boroughs over two years – and left taxpayers with an annual bill of around £122 million.

Those are the findings of health campaigners looking to boost support for a minimum alcohol pricing policy across the county.

And the number of alcoholic liver disease admissions has increased by more than 300 per cent in one area, in just under a decade.

Cumbria and Lancashire Public Health Collaborative and the charity DrinkWise compiled the figures.

County, borough and parish councillors have been presented with the figures as part of the new Burnley, Hyndburn, Pendle and Rossendale ‘three-tier forums’. There were 10,130 alcohol-related hospital admissions in 2010-11, over the four boroughs.

Alcoholic liver disease admissions in 2011-12 totalled 480 – in Hyndburn the figure was 113, a 304 per cent rise on the number for 2002-03.

Around 2,250 crimes have been attributed to alcohol, with Burnley topping the East Lancs table at 833 in 2011-12.

The partnership calculated the ‘cost’ locally to the NHS, workplaces through sick days, social services and crime.

The figures were £32.89 million for Hyndburn and £32.64 million each for Burnley and Pendle.

The cost to Rossendale is estimated to be £23.76 million.

Sangita Patel, programme manager, said: “Discussions concluded that further awareness and engagement work was needed to develop a common understanding on the minimum unit pricing policy.”