Drink-driver five times the limit is among first arrests in Christmas crackdown

Sergeant Peter Howlett, from Norfolk and Suffolk Roads and Armed Policing. Picture: IAN BURT

Sergeant Peter Howlett, from Norfolk and Suffolk Roads and Armed Policing. Picture: IAN BURT - Credit: IAN BURT

A driver nearly five times the legal alcohol limit and one under the influence of cocaine were among the first arrests made in a Christmas crackdown on drink and drug driving in Norfolk.

The county's police force began its winter drink-drive campaign alongside Suffolk police on Saturday, with officers in both counties set to carry out extra patrols and roadside checks until January.

On the first day of action officers in Norfolk conducted a number of drug and alcohol tests and made nine arrests after drivers were found to be under the influence. These included a man who gave a breath test reading of 169mgs (milligrams) and a pensioner who gave a reading of 96mgs – the legal limit is 35mgs – as well as a driver found to be under the influence of cocaine.

Driving under the influence of drink or drugs is one of the 'fatal four' factors which contribute to road deaths alongside speeding, using a mobile phone at the wheel and not wearing a seatbelt.

Sergeant Peter Howlett, from Norfolk and Suffolk Roads and Armed Policing, said: 'The Norfolk and Suffolk Roads and Armed Policing teams continue to reinforce the message that driving while under the influence of drink or drugs will not be tolerated on our counties' roads and that robust high-profile enforcement will continue.'

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As part of the police campaign in Norfolk and Suffolk over the festive period, drivers will be breathalysed if they are stopped due to a vehicle defect, if there are concerns over their driving or if they have been involved in a crash.

Specific time slots have been reserved at Norwich and Ipswich Magistrates' Courts to deal with those caught drink or drug driving this year. This means offenders could lose their licence within 24 hours of being breathalysed – and face additional fines.

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The message behind this year's campaign is 'not all drink-drivers will be young men'.

In last year's Christmas drink and drug driving campaign more than 3,000 drivers were tested in Norfolk and Suffolk. In total 152 people were found to be over the drink-drive limit while 78 people failed drug driving tests.

The public is encouraged to report any concerns relating drink or drug driving anonymously using Crimestoppers on www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

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