Hundreds of motorists were arrested on suspicion of drink or drug-driving offences during a Sussex Police campaign during December.

17 were arrested in Eastbourne and three in Polegate.

Officers from across the force made 261 arrests in Sussex during Operation Limit, a national campaign to tackle drink and drug driving, which ran from December 1 to January 1.

They also carried out nearly 6,000 vehicle checks during the campaign, providing a visible deterrent to offenders and raising awareness of the dangers of driving after consuming alcohol or drugs.

Policing patrols on the roads continue 24/7, all year round to catch offenders and prevent them causing serious harm to themselves and other road users.

Drink and drug-driving is one of the main causes of why people are killed or seriously injured on our roads.

The number of arrests made last month was a 12 per cent increase on the number of arrests made during the campaign recorded a year before, when 233 arrests were made.

It included a rise in the number of arrests following collisions on our roads, and also as a result of the public reporting drivers to police in order to stop a serious collision in the first place.

Chief Constable Jo Shiner said: “Our campaign highlighted the dangers of drink-driving as well as the very easy steps people can take to prevent it from happening.

“We continue to urge people to make the right choice by taking steps such as pre-booking a taxi, walking to a venue, or having a designated driver.

“The public can also do their part to persuade a drink-driver not to get behind the wheel, such as by offering to call a taxi, offering them a place to stay instead of drink-driving, and if necessary and safe to do so, by taking the car keys away from them.

“We are pleased that the public have shown support for our campaign, including where they have reported intoxicated drivers to us to help prevent a tragic collision.

“The fact that there were more than 50 collisions goes to show just how dangerous driving after consuming drink or drugs can be.”

Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said: “Sussex Police have been working hard to get unfit drivers off our roads throughout their winter campaign.

“However, the rising number of arrests suggests that people still don’t understand the severity of their actions when they choose to get behind the wheel or, worse still, they think they’ll get away with it.

“It has been nearly 10 years since roadside saliva tests were introduced and today’s kits are more accurate and deliver faster results.

“With portable technology like this readily available to officers, it is simply a matter of time before drug-drivers are caught and could face up to six months in prison, an unlimited fine and driving bans.

“I particularly want to thank the members of the public who came forward to report incidents of drink or drug-driving throughout the campaign.

“Many of these reports will have been about their own friends or family and, whilst it’s not easy to report a loved one, the reality is that it could save theirs and others’ lives.”

Surrey Police and Sussex Police’s Head of Roads Policing Superintendent Rachel Glenton said: “Officers across the force took part in this year’s campaign, and our officers continue to patrol the roads 24/7, every day of the year, to prevent offenders from causing harm to themselves and others.

“But hundreds of motorists still took the selfish decision to drive or use a vehicle after they had consumed alcohol or taken drugs.

“The increase in arrests demonstrates the determination of our officers to catch offenders and ensure our roads are safer.”

Despite the warnings, officers continued to find drivers putting themselves in danger, including one driver found asleep in his van at a busy roundabout, another man who reached for mouth wash when approaching our stop check site, and a suspected drug-driver in a blue car who failed to give way at a junction causing a collision in Washington Road, Storrington, as shown in the images.

In keeping with previous campaigns, Sussex Police will be publishing the names of some of those convicted to raise awareness and to act as a deterrent to others from committing the same offence.

The consequences of drink or drug-driving could include the following:
• A minimum 12 month ban;
• An unlimited fine;
• A possible prison sentence;
• A criminal record, which could affect your current and future employment;
• An increase in your car insurance;
• Trouble travelling to countries such as the USA;
• You could also kill or seriously injure yourself or someone else

Statistics from Sussex include:
• At least 57 reported collisions out of the 261 arrests made.
• Of those arrested, 235 were men and 26 were women.
• In total, 115 arrests were made in connection with alcohol related drink-driving offences, and 146 arrests were made in connection with drug-driving related offences.
• Officers completed 5,944 vehicle stop checks, up from 2,430 in the previous year.
• Officers completed 397 DrugWipe tests, of which 157 returned a positive result.
• There were 54 arrests made within the Brighton and Hove area.
• There were 25 arrests made in the Mid Sussex district including six in Burgess Hill and five in Haywards Heath.
• There were 25 arrests in the Rother district including 18 in Bexhill.
• There were 23 arrests in the Crawley area.
• There were 22 arrests in the Adur and Worthing district, including 14 in Worthing specifically.
• There were 21 arrests made in the Arun district including six in Bognor and six in Littlehampton.
• There were 18 arrests in the Horsham district including six in Horsham specifically.
• There were 17 arrests made in the Hastings and St Leonards district.
• There were 17 arrests made in the Eastbourne district.
• There were 12 arrests made in the Lewes district including five in Newhaven.
• There were 10 arrests made in the Chichester district, including six in Chichester specifically.
• There were 10 arrests made in the Wealden district, including three in Polegate.