CRIMINALS in Wales who commit crimes fuelled by alcohol can now be ordered to wear 'sobriety tags'.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said the scheme will begin in Wales from today (Wednesday) and will be extended to England next year.

Judges can ban booze-fuelled criminals from drinking for up to 120 days, and use the tags to enforce those orders.

The tags monitor adult offenders’ sweat every 30 minutes and alert the probation service if alcohol is consumed.

Breaking their booze ban – officially named alcohol abstinence orders – could see offenders back in court for further sentencing or facing fines.

The MoJ said the new scheme was part of government plans to toughen community-based sentences and cut reoffending rates.

According to MoJ figures, alcohol is a factor in 39 per cent of violent crime, and dealing with drink-related harm costs the UK £21 billion every year.

The 'sobriety tag' scheme will be supported by professional help schemes for offenders to cut their drinking and improve their lifestyles.

Offenders with more serious alcohol addictions will still be referred for treatment.

Simon Hart, the secretary of state for Wales, said he was "encouraged" to see the 'sobriety tag' scheme rolled out in Wales.

"The government’s plans to overhaul sentencing will see dangerous offenders spend longer in prison, while greater efforts are made to tackle the root causes of offending," he said. "More support will be on offer for those willing to turn their back on crime through treatment for mental health issues and addictions.

"Supervision of offenders in the community will be improved with greater powers for probation officers and increased curfews. The government also plans to use GPS tags to track burglars, robbers and thieves when they are released from prison."