MORE than seven people a day were caught driving while under the influence of drink or drugs in Cheshire throughout December.

Cheshire Police arrested a total of 230 people for drink- and drug-driving as part of a month-long crackdown during the Christmas period.

The operation saw officers out on the county’s roads targeting those motorists who chose to get behind the wheel after having an alcoholic drink or taking drugs, and in the mornings when they could have still been over the limit.

The figure is up slightly on December 2018, when 227 people were caught.

In the Chester area, 22 motorists were stopped for drink-driving, with a further 18 arrested for drug-driving.

While the number of drink-drive arrests was slightly down on December 2018's figure of 25, it was higher than December 2017 (17) and December 2016 (14).

The number of drug-drivers caught continues to rise, however; 14 were arrested in December 2018, nine in December 2017 and eight in December 2016.

In Ellesmere Port, there were seven drink-driver arrests and five drug-driver arrests in December 2019.

The number of drink-drivers caught was the same as December 2018 and down from eight in December 2017 and 10 in December 2016.

In recent years, one motorist was caught drug-driving in Ellesmere Port in December 2016, seven were recorded in December 2017 and three were arrested in December 2018.

Superintendent Jo Marshall-Bell, who heads up Cheshire Police’s Roads and Crime Unit, said: “For motorists to get behind the wheel after having an alcoholic drink or taking drugs, even though they know the risks could be fatal, baffles me.

“We do not go out policing the roads for the sake of it – we are doing it to save lives. If you are willing to put your or innocent road users' lives at risk then we will take action, and 230 people in Cheshire will face the consequences of their reckless and selfish actions.

“People are often quick to assume it is just young drivers who drive after having a drink, but the data tells us that the most common age range for those arrested for drink-driving is 35-39, showing that people of all ages are choosing to drive under the influence of alcohol.

“Making Cheshire’s roads as safe as possible is of upmost importance to me and my team and rest assured, we will continue to target those road users intent on committing one of the Fatal 5 offences: careless driving, speeding, drink/drug driving, using a mobile phone while driving and not wearing a seatbelt.”