FESTIVE drinkers in York are being urged to look after their friends and prevent them drowning during city centre nights out.

The Royal Life Saving Society UK is re-launching its national Don’t Drink and Drown campaign this week in the hope of deterring more river deaths.

It said local organisations had joined together to ask York’s revellers to stick together during their festivities and not to let any of their friends walk home alone.

The campaign comes after a terrible year for deaths in York’s River Ouse and River Foss, with at least six people having drowned already - five during a three week period in April.

The society said latest statistics showed that 28 people accidentally drowned in North Yorkshire over the last five years and nine of them were found to have had alcohol and/or drugs in their system.

A spokeswoman said York St John University and York Water Safety Forum - involving North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, North Yorkshire Police, the Office of Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner and City of York Council - were backing the campaign and would be sharing the society’s new film which showed how easily a fun night out could turn into tragedy and how staying with friends could make all the difference.

Jo Thompson, drowning prevention coordinator for the York area, said the number of drownings increased in winter, more often than not because of intoxication, adding: “Families, friends and whole communities are left devastated every year because someone walks home alone whilst under the influence and falls into the water.”

The film can be seen by going to www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1OgicnXr1U&t=3s