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Drink and drug-driving arrest tally tops 20 in five days of campaign

Last year's campaign saw 72 drivers provide positive breathalyser readings  Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Last year's campaign saw 72 drivers provide positive breathalyser readings Picture: RACHEL EDGE

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Suffolk police have arrested more than 20 people in the first five days of a Christmas crackdown on drink and drug-driving.

The annual campaign launched at the beginning of December by road safety officials and the county's emergency services.

Police are carrying out roadside checks and intelligence-led enforcement until January 1.

At least 20 people had been arrested on suspicion of drink or drug-driving by Friday morning.

Almost half were released under investigation for drug-driving, pending blood tests.

Anyone arrested on suspicion of drink-driving in the coming weeks will be fast-tracked into the court system and promptly punished upon conviction.

Suffolk Magistrates' Court has already dealt with a number of drink-drivers and more are expected before the bench next week, including a 23-year-old Ipswich man charged on Friday morning with driving with 51 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath - the legal limit being 35mcg.

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Specific time slots have been reserved at magistrates courts in Ipswich and Norwich to deal with drink-drivers - meaning they could lose their licence within 24 hours of being breathalysed.

Police are encouraging the public to provide intelligence about potential offenders.

An online portal has been set up for concerns to be reported directly to the roads police team.

During last year's campaign, 772 drivers were breathalysed - with 72 providing positive readings.

Of 183 people to take roadside drug tests, 76 failed, while eight people were arrested for failing to provide a specimen, and six were arrested for being unfit to drive through drink and drugs.

Drivers are 23 times more likely to be involved in a fatal collision if under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Chief Inspector Kris Barnard said too many people were still prepared to endanger lives, despite repeated warnings about the consequences, adding: "The worst-case scenario is that you are responsible for killing someone, ruining the lives of that person's friends and family, and will have a lengthy prison term to contemplate your actions."

For the majority of people caught drink or drug-driving, the punishment will be a minimum 12 to 18-month ban, a substantial fine, and the possibility of further financial consequences from loss of employment.

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