The UK's Retail of Alcohol Standards Group has introduced new universal signage in a bid to step up the battle against underage drinking.

The new signage, supported by the Home Office and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, will be introduced nationwide.

The Retail of Alcohol Standards Group said it endorsed the Challenge 21 approach to the selling of alcohol, and encourages anyone who is 18 or over but looks under 21 to carry acceptable photo ID when buying alcohol.

The Retail of Alcohol Standards Group is also working to co-ordinate best practice for retail staff training and commissioning research into the reasons why retailer initiatives to combat sales to minors have been ineffective.

"Over the last five weeks, the progress we have made has been astounding," said Kate Coleman of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association.

"The group was formed in response to the challenge laid down by the Home Secretary - since then the six initial members of the group have agreed to work together to produce this universal signage along with a host of other initiatives.  The group has doubled in size and we will continue to work hard to deliver real progress and achieve the results that the Government is looking for us to deliver."

The Retail of Alcohol Standards Group was formed through a collaboration between the Wine and Spirit Trade Association and the British Retail Consortium, and have been joined in the venture by the Association of Convenience Stores. The partners are looking to involve the entire alcohol retail sector, including pubs, bars and clubs, in the initiative.