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More than 130 people in Norfolk caught drink or drug driving over Christmas period

PUBLISHED: 11:25 12 January 2018 | UPDATED: 12:53 12 January 2018

A driver is breathalysed by a police officer . Picture: ANTONY KELLY

A driver is breathalysed by a police officer . Picture: ANTONY KELLY

© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2008

The percentage of drivers failing breathalyser tests during the festive period has increased with 81 people arrested last month.

As part of its Christmas drink drive campaign Norfolk Constabulary breathalysed 947 drivers for alcohol consumption with approximately one in 12 motorists (8.55pc) failing the test. This number was up from one in sixteen (6.4pc) in 2016.

A total of 137 people were caught during the Christmas period driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

In total 81 drivers provided positive readings during breathalyser tests and of the 172 drug tests conducted, 56 drivers failed.

Chief Inspector Kris Barnard, head of the joint Roads Policing and Firearms Operations Unit, said it is “disappointing to see that people are still prepared to take the risk” when it comes to driving under the influence of drink and drugs.

This year specific time slots at Norwich Magistrates Courts were reserved to deal with those caught drink or drug driving. This meant offenders could lose their licence within 24-hours of being breathalysed whilst facing additional fines.

Some of those prosecuted in court included;

• Neil Grimwood, 56, from Lone Barn Road in Norwich who was stopped after driving erratically. He provided a positive breath test of more than three times the legal limit. He was arrested on Saturday December 2 and at court on Friday December 5 where he was disqualified for 26 months and ordered to pay a £3,200 fine.

• Martin Banfield, 46, from King Street, Norwich was stopped after being seen driving in an erratic manner in Neatishead. He was stopped and provided a positive breath test of more than three times the legal limit. He was disqualified for 28 months, ordered to undertake rehabilitation activity and given an electronic tag and curfew between 6pm and 6am for one month.

• Peter Thomas, 44, from The Archway, Lowestoft was breathalysed after a crash involving a brick wall. He provided a positive breath test and was arrested on Wednesday December 13. He appeared at court the next day and was disqualified for three years and ordered to pay £400.

• Zilvians Neveckas, 34, from Havelock Road, Great Yarmouth was arrested on South Quay in Great Yarmouth on Wednesday December 27 after a member of public reported his driving. He failed a breath test and was more than three times over the legal limit. He also did not have insurance and was driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence. He was seen at court on Friday December 29 and disqualified for four years, ordered to do 150 hours of unpaid work and sentenced to eight weeks in prison suspended for 2 years.

The month-long campaign, launched on December 1, targeted drivers with patrols and roadside checks. A similar campaign was also launched in Suffolk which saw 1,751 drivers breathalysed with 70 drivers providing positive readings. Of the 194 drug test conducted, 67 drivers failed.

Mr Barnard said of the campaign results: “It’s always disappointing to see that people are still prepared to take the risk and get behind the wheel under the influence of drink or drugs, although it is a minority.

“Dozens of people caught during the campaign would have started 2018 with a minimum 12 to 18 month driving ban, which will have massive implications on their professional and social lives.

“We target drink drivers all-year round and my plea to motorists considering getting behind the wheel after drinking or taking drugs is don’t – it’s simply not worth the risk.”

During the 2016 campaign 1,320 breath tests were carried out with 85 drivers failing and 33 drivers failed drug tests.

Norfolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner Lorne Green, added: “It is clear some drivers still don’t grasp the fact that driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is dangerous and unacceptable and a selfish thing to do.

“It is just not worth the risk and should not be tolerated by the community. We all have a part to play in keeping our roads safe. Do yourself a favour, do everyone else a favour and don’t drive under the influence of drink or drugs and don’t let your friends or family do so.”

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