A total of 240 people have been arrested during a Christmas crackdown on drink and drug driving by Sussex Police.
The operation ran from 1 December 2018 to 1 January 2019 - and according to police, and the figure is an increase on the previous two Christmas campaigns.
There were reportedly 195 arrests in December 2017 and 187 arrests in December 2016, meaning this figure is a 23 per cent increase compared to the 2017 campaign.
Chief Inspector Andy Gooch, of the Surrey and Sussex Roads Policing Unit, said: “It is bitterly disappointing to see so many people arrested on suspicion of drink or drug-driving in such a short period of time. Of course we want people to have fun and enjoy the festivities, but don’t let that be at the expense of risking your life – and others’ – on our roads.
“The risks of such actions are well documented, yet despite our repeated warnings, there will always be a minority of people who make the conscious decision to get behind the wheel having consumed alcohol or drugs.
“While the number of arrests is an increase on the previous two years, it is encouraging to receive reports of suspected drink or drug-drivers from members of the public. Our officers can’t be everywhere all the time, and we appreciate the public’s assistance in helping us detect potential offenders.
“We take all reports of this nature extremely seriously and will respond to them as quickly as possible to achieve our two main aims of this operation – to keep all road users safe and to bring to justice those who break the law.
“I’d also like to thank our staff and officers who work tirelessly to raise awareness of the dangers of drink and drug-driving, and to crackdown on drink and drug-drivers 365 days a year. We have two dedicated campaigns at peak times of the year – during summer and at Christmas – however we will still actively pursue offenders all year round as part of our routine policing.
“Drink and drug-driving destroys lives, and it is one of the four major contributory factors of serious injury and fatal collisions in the UK. In Sussex alone in 2017, a total of 78 people were killed or seriously injured as a result of a collision involving a drink-driver. That’s 78 too many.
“Please, think before you consider driving while under the influence – your next journey could be your last.”
Of those arrested, a total of 29 have so far been convicted and 81 have been charged to appear in court. The remaining 130 have either been released under investigation or released without charge.
People in Sussex can text officers on 65999 with the details of people they suspect of drink or drug-driving, or visit the Operation Crackdown website.
You can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or report it online.
If you know someone is driving while over the limit or after taking drugs, call 999, police said.