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Suffolk police unveil tough stance on drink and drug drivers at Bury St Edmunds launch of Christmas campaign

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Drink and drug drivers will be prosecuted this Christmas, a coalition of Suffolk authorities have said upon the launch of their festive campaign.

The annual initiative, which runs until January 1, will see officers carrying out roadside checks and time slots have been reserved in local magistrate courts to deal quickly with offenders.

A police spokesman said: "This effectively means that offenders could lose their driving licence within 24 hours of being breathalysed whilst facing additional fines."

Emergency services gather at Bury St Edmunds fire station (23155352)
Emergency services gather at Bury St Edmunds fire station (23155352)

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

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

Suffolk Constabulary, East of England Ambulance Service, Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service and Suffolk County Council launched the campaign this morning (Monday, December 2).

Mike Motteram, road safety manager at Suffolk County Council, said: "Drivers don’t always recognise when their decision making is impaired through drink.

"If friends and family members are concerned, they need to be pro-active. Take away the keys, call a cab or offer them a lift home. You may just save someone’s life.”

(Watch) Police sergeant Paul Jackson says that one drink is too many if you are planning to drive

Tim Passmore, Police and Crime Commissioner for Suffolk, said: “It is a campaign we do every year and it’s important we keep going to keep our roads safe.

“At this time of year there are mindless people who think it is okay to drink and drive. It is time people thought more seriously about it.

“Drink driving can cause injury, death and distress at Christmas time. I would urge people not to do it.”

Officers line-up at Bury St Edmunds fire station (23156680)
Officers line-up at Bury St Edmunds fire station (23156680)

Three people have already been arrested as part of the campaign, and will appear before magistrates tomorrow (Tuesday, December 3).

One of those is a 24-year-old man from Bury St Edmunds who was stopped at around 3.35am yesterday (December 1) in Cullum Road and charged with drunk driving.

Suffolk Police is encouraging members of the public to provide them with intelligence about potential offenders.

For the first time this year, an online portal has been set-up to enable members of the public to report any concerns.