Seven people caught on first weekend of Christmas drink and drug drive campaign in Middlesbrough

A PSNI Road Policing officer prepares a breathalyser test during a random drink driving checkpoint in Belfast.
Officers have been carrying out roadside checks as part of a campaign throughout the Christmas party season. Credit: PA

Seven drivers were found to be under the influence of drink or drugs on the first weekend of Cleveland Police's Christmas campaign.

Officers stopped 215 drivers on Cargo Fleet Lane, Acklam Road and Newport Road in Middlesbrough from Friday 1 December to Sunday 3 December.

Five people were found to be driving under the influence of alcohol and two were found to be under the influence of drugs.

The campaign is being carried out nationally across the Christmas period and into New Year.

Inspector Steve Clyburn from Cleveland Police Special Operations Unit said: “Every year we take part in this national campaign which is crucial in helping us clamp down on those who are willing to take risks with their lives and the lives of others on our roads.“Whilst we regularly check drivers for alcohol or drugs, as people generally socialise more over the Christmas period the temptation may be greater to get behind the wheel whilst under the influence and therefore put themselves and others at risk.  “We know that the majority of drivers are law-abiding and responsible, but we would urge people to arrange a lift or order a taxi, rather than drive themselves whilst under the influence or the morning after. We won’t tolerate anyone driving whilst intoxicated.“The very last thing we want is any family suffering the heartbreak of losing a loved one at the hands of a drink or drug driver, and particularly over the festive period when people should be enjoying themselves.”

Driving or attempting to drive while above the legal limit, or unfit through drink, can carry punishments including a six-month prison sentence, an unlimited fine or a driving ban of at least a year.

A conviction for drug driving can mean a minimum 1 year driving ban, an unlimited fine, up to six months in prison and a criminal record.Andrew Bright, Cleveland Fire Brigade's Road Safety Co-ordinator said: "The latest North East drink and drug drive figures make for grim reading with so many innocent lives needlessly ruined through the lack of forward planning or reckless decision making.

"Each statistic represents a loved one, friend or colleague and these tragedies could so easily be avoided.

“We want everyone to have a great time this Christmas, but either organise safe transport home, or make the decision to be the designated driver - that's 'none' for the road.

“The consequences of failing to plan ahead or taking risks, all too often, results in more than bent metal. Your decision could have devastating and irreversible consequences for more than one family this Christmas.”

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