GWENT Police made 51 arrests over the Christmas and New Year period on suspicion of drink- and drug-driving offences.

Across the region, officers set up roadside checkpoints and acted on intelligence to stop drivers they believed were breaking the law.

“Our proactive work during the Christmas campaign shows we are targeting the right places and people in order to apprehend motorists who believe it is still acceptable to drink or drug drive," Chief Inspector Ryan Francis said. “Driving under the influence is one of the biggest causes of death on our roads and these figures illustrate that too many people are willing to risk their lives and other road users by getting behind the wheel after drinking alcohol or taking drugs."

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Between December 18 and January 1, Gwent Police made:

24 arrests on suspicion of drink-driving (when alcohol level is above the prescribed limit).

23 arrests on suspicion of drug-driving (when the concentration of a specified controlled drug is above the prescribed limit).

3 arrests on suspicion of "in-charge" offences (when a person is under the influence of alcohol/drugs and they are in charge of a vehicle, e.g. sitting in the driver's seat with the keys.

1 arrest for failing to provide a sample (of breath or saliva, when a police officer suspects a driver is under the influence of alcohol/drugs).

This compares with 21 arrests for drink-driving, and 17 for drug-driving, during the previous Christmas period.

Ch Insp Francis reminded drivers Gwent Police's drink- and drug driving enforcement was a year-round operation, not just at Christmas.

“The consequences for a driver convicted of drink or drug driving can go way beyond the loss of their driving licence; it is really not worth the risk," he said.

“We would urge anyone who has information about someone who is drink or drug driving to contact us on 101, 999 in an emergency, or via our social media channels on Facebook and Twitter. This could save a life.”