New drink-drive plea as number of arrests in Hampshire increases

ON THE LOOKOUT Police do spot checks in Port Solent
ON THE LOOKOUT Police do spot checks in Port Solent
Vicky Beckett back in her car after it had been professionally cleaned     

Picture: Habibur Rahman

City carer disgusted after vandals broke into her car and urinated all over the interior – but did not steal anything

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POLICE have warned motorists they are dicing with death after it was revealed the number of people caught drink or drug driving has shot up.

Officers have arrested 106 people on suspicion of driving under the influence since December 1 – up nine per cent on this time last year.

Hampshire Police Chief Inspector Cleave Faulkner has vented his frustrations on social networking site Twitter, warning followers: ‘STOP IT.’

Police are working round-the-clock to catch out drink and drug drivers across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

But despite warnings 65 people had been charged with driving while impaired since the start of Operation Holly.

Chief Insp Faulkner said there had been 18 arrests on Saturday alone – with a further nine in the early hours of Sunday morning.

He said: ‘It’s a disappointment.

‘Every time somebody decides to get behind the wheel of a car intoxicated or otherwise impaired they run the risk of killing somebody – not only themselves, but killing some innocent member of the public who is just going about their normal business.

‘People just don’t seem to think twice about taking those risks because I think they think they will never get caught.’

Officers have stopped more than 1,500 drivers in the last week alone.

One motorist stopped was almost five times the drink-drive limit when breathalysed.

The driver’s breath contained 173mcg of alcohol per 100 millilitres – the legal limit is 35mcg.

Police have not revealed where the driver was caught out.

Roads policing unit PC Mark Clarke said: ‘In a decade of policing I have never seen anyone give such a high result.

‘In my opinion it is a wonder the driver was even able to get into the car, let alone drive it away.’

Chief Insp Faulkner added: ‘What we have attempted to do is try and raise people’s awareness through social media.

‘It is more about education. With officers doing more, statistically we are going to catch more people.

‘On Saturday from midnight to midnight there were 18 arrests for this type of offence and between midnight and 6am on Sunday there were a further nine. It’s a huge concern for us.’

Report suspected drink-drivers via the text number 80999.

Police video highlights Southsea death crash

POLICE have put together a video to show the potentially devastating impact of drink-driving.

The footage – posted onto YouTube – shows an interview with two roads policing officers talking about their experiences in dealing with a drink-drive crash in which 22-year-old Karl Butler died.

Mr Butler had met Sharn Van-Gool, from Gwent, on the social networking site Facebook and arranged to meet at the Wedgewood Rooms in Southsea.

But their night ended in tragedy when Van-Gool crashed Mr Butler’s car into the wall of The Lounge nightclub in Clarendon Road, Southsea.

Neither of them were wearing seatbelts. Mr Butler, from Kent, died at the scene in the early hours of November 6, 2009.

A test showed Van-Gool’s breath contained 135 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood – well over the 80ml legal limit.

Van-Gool pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving while over the limit.

She was jailed for three years at Portsmouth Crown Court in July last year.

Roads Policing Unit PC Mark Clarke said: ‘Drink-drive deaths are such avoidable tragedies.

‘There can be no excuse for risking lives by getting behind the wheel after having a drink.’