Don’t see in the new year with a drink-drive ban

ADVICE Stuart Ainsworth at the Leopold Tavern
ADVICE Stuart Ainsworth at the Leopold Tavern

Portsmouth coastguard called to reports of a body near Chichester

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LANDLORD Stuart Ainsworth is doing his bit to encourage motorists to steer clear of alcohol in the run-up to New Year.

Mr Ainsworth, 41, who runs the Leopold Tavern in Albert Road, Southsea, is among dozens of pubs across our area backing our annual campaign.

During December the Leopold and other venues signed up to the Steer Clear initiatives have been offering free soft drinks to designated drivers to help deter people from drink-driving.

Mr Ainsworth said: ‘We always support Steer Clear. The campaign’s a great idea and it doesn’t cost us much.

‘If somebody comes into the pub and says can they have a soft drink because of Steer Clear that’s fine with me because they are doing the right thing and my conscience is clear, knowing we have done our bit to help.’

But as Mr Ainsworth prepares for a surge in revellers coming through the pub doors between now and New Year he is urging drinkers to avoid alcohol completely if they are driving – or arrange alternative transport.

Mr Ainsworth added: ‘There’s no excuse for drink-driving, you just don’t do it.

‘We are serviced in Portsmouth with decent taxi firms so there is no need for it.

‘If you are going out for a drink, even one, then leave your car at home.

‘I’m a great believer that if you are driving you shouldn’t drink at all.’

Meanwhile Hampshire Constabulary officers will continue their campaign to catch drink-drivers in the act across our area as part of Operation Holly. Anyone caught behind the wheel while over the limit faces arrest, a driving ban, criminal record, a fine or even jail.