PICTURES: Drink-drivers caught out as police launch Christmas crackdown campaign

Picture: Malcolm Wells

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POLICE are urging people to report anyone drug or drink-driving as they launch a crackdown in the run-up to Christmas.

Just yesterday a Royal Navy sailor, cocaine addict and a teenager who drove to hospital were banned by magistrates after being caught on the roads under the influence.

Rachael Matthams

Rachael Matthams

Sgt Rob Heard, Hampshire police’s road safety sergeant, spoke out as the force’s Operation Holly got under way.

He said: ‘We’ll be targeting those who are drinking and those who are drug-driving on our roads.

‘We’re trying to remind people we’re targeting the worst offenders and hoping the public will work with us to support this.’

He said anyone who spots an impaired driver should call 999 or if they have information about someone who may drive then call 101.

A poster for Hampshire Police's Operation Holly

A poster for Hampshire Police's Operation Holly

Sgt Heard warned of ‘devastating consequences’, with 60 people killed or seriously injured last year in Hampshire due to impaired drivers.

The force is warning every driver involved in a crash during the campaign will be breathalysed, with extra patrols out on the roads.

Anyone caught faces prosecution, with the prospect of being banned.

At Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court yesterday cocaine addict Michael Hardman, 28, was banned for a year with a six-month community order, rehabilitation activities, a £50 fine, £85 victim surcharge and £85 costs.

Michael Hardman

Michael Hardman

Prosecutor Graham Heath told magistrates how Hardman was caught in Tichborne Way, Gosport, after taking his ex-girlfriend’s car.

Police followed him into Rowner Road, where he stopped, got out with two other men, but got back in 
and drove off – crashing into a parked car.

‘He doesn’t seem to be able to drive the vehicle for long. He comes to a stop when he mounts the pavement and spins. He’s a hair’s breadth away from dangerous driving,’ Mr Heath said.

He had 32 microgrammes of cocaine per litre of blood. The limit is 10. He also had Benzoylecgonine, a constituent of cocaine, above the limit.

Hardman, who is set to go on a 12-week residential drug rehabilitation placement, admitted aggravated vehicle taking, driving without insurance, failing to stop and two drug-driving charges over the June 29 incident.

The owner of the parked Ford was planning to take the car to her nephew’s graduation but it may now be a write-off, the court heard.

In a separate case the court heard that navy sailor Kieran Heffernan, 32, of Totland Road, Cosham, will 
miss out on earning a 15-year good conduct medal next year after being caught.

He drove back to HMS Collingwood at 4.30am on October 10 after spending the day with pals watching a rugby match and going to a pub.

Guards smelled alcohol and called police who found he had 75 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35.

Rebecca Strong, mitigating, said Leading Seaman Heffernan, an above water warfare specialist, had no 
intention of drink-driving. He admitted it.

She said: ‘He was due next year to get a good service conduct for 15 years.

‘He will no longer receive that as a result of the proceedings.’

Magistrates banned him from driving for 18 months with a £461 fine, £46 victim surcharge and £85 costs.

In a third case Rachael Matthams, 18, of Crofton Close, Waterlooville, drove to Queen Alexandra Hospital to get medical help on October 12 but was intoxicated.

Prosecutor Mr Heath said she revealed to staff she had driven and police were called. She swore at officers – who charged her with failing to provide a specimen of breath.

The care assistant admitted the charge yesterday and was handed a 12-month ban with £200 fine, £85 costs and £30 victim surcharge.

A breath test was positive but could not be used as evidence, the court heard. Matthams had ‘panicked’ at the hospital and was in a ‘distressed state’ when she arrived there.