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More than 300 people arrested in Christmas drink/drug driving crackdown

MORE than 300 people were arrested during a Christmas crackdown on drink and drug drivers.

Avon & Somerset Police said a total of 324 drivers were picked up for driving under the influence of drink and/or drugs as part of a national policing operation which ran throughout December.

The number represented a 10 percent increase on the number of arrests made during the same period in 2022.

Drink driving accounted for 68 percent of the offences, and drug driving for 32 percent.

Police said the arrests came after a combination of stop check sites, intelligence, public reports, and proactive patrols, with around 2,000 drivers stopped.

One report from the public, received from a 999 call on Sunday, December 3, came from a concerned motorist who witnessed a vehicle being driven erratically on the M5 near junction 25.

After officers located and stopped the vehicle, the driver was breathalysed, arrested and subsequently charged with driving a motor vehicle when alcohol level was above the legal limit.

He appeared in court on December 21 and received a 20-month disqualification from driving and a £120 fine.

During the winter operation, those aged between 25 and 34 accounted for 30 percent of the arrests, followed by those aged 35 to 44 (26 percent).

These were followed by those aged between 45 and 54 (17 percent) and those under 25 (17 percent). Four in five of those arrested were male (79 percent).

The Bristol area saw 27 percent of the arrests, while Somerset West had 24 percent and South Gloucestershire had 16 percent.

Assistant Chief Constable Joanne Hall said: “Over the festive period, 324 drivers have been taken off the road before they could cause harm through drink or drug driving.

“Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is not only illegal, but also a reckless and dangerous choice that puts lives at risk. The consequences of such decisions can be catastrophic, causing irreversible harm and heartache to families and loved ones.

“I would like to thank the public who are helping us to target those people that they suspect are drink or drug driving. By doing this, you are helping us to reinforce the message that getting behind the wheel while under the influence is never acceptable. Together we are keeping the roads of Avon and Somerset safer.

“I would also like to acknowledge the hard work of our teams who work tirelessly to keep our roads safe, and will continue to do so throughout the year.”

Information about drink or drug drivers can be reported online via www.avonandsomerset.police.uk/report, or by calling 101 (always 999 in an emergency and if someone is currently driving under the influence of drink or drugs). Reports can also be made anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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