People living in popular regions of the UK are just as likely to unwittingly consume too much alcohol as binge drinkers, according to research commissioned by the Department of Health.

The North West Public Health Observatory said in a report updated today (16 October), that the classification of moderate drinking varies from region to region and many who think they drink sensibly do not.

According to the report: "People living in the regions where population levels of drinking are highest now appear to be becoming 'normalised' towards heavier drinking since those classifying themselves as moderate drinkers in these regions actually consume more units of alcohol than those classifying themselves as moderate drinkers in other regions."

The research outlines that women need only drink 15 units per week, equal to between five and 12 large glasses of wine per week and men 22 units per week, between seven and 17 glasses to reach "hazardous" levels.

Results showed that the proportion of people who binge drink is highest in Yorkshire and The Humber and the North West and lowest in London and the South East, with many believing that alcohol was the main cause of crime.

"In the most recent surveys in England, 48% of people believed alcohol to be a major cause of crime compared with 36% two years earlier and 5.7% thought alcohol was the main cause of crime compared with only 3.7% two years earlier," the research stated.