Published: December 3, 2011
Police urge public in Burnham-On-Sea area to report drink drivers

Police have this week encouraged members of the public in the Burnham-On-Sea area to report drink driving offenders if they know they are getting behind the wheel while under the influence.

The appeal comes as Avon and Somerset Police launch their annual Christmas drink and drug driving campaign.

Chief Inspector John Holt of the force's Operations and Roads Policing Unit said: "Most people now regard drink and drug driving as socially and morally unacceptable – and I'm sure they will fully support us in trying to make the roads of Avon and Somerset safer for all."

People are being encouraged to text the word drunk to 81819 to send in their information. It will be available throughout the month-long operation.

Chief Inspector Holt said: "We understand that in some circumstances it can be difficult to call police if you believe that someone is about to get into their car and drink or drug drive, especially if you know them personally."

"When someone texts the word drunk to 81819 it will be treated by our control room in the same way as a 999 call."

"These texts may be reports from a patron or landlord at a pub who has just seen someone get into a car after drinking, or a friend or relative concerned that a loved one may be drink or drug driving.

"To make sure we can make the best use of the information texted to us, we ask that as much information is included as possible.

"For example it would be helpful to include details about the time and date, where the person is driving from and where they are heading to, a number plate and the person's name. All this information will help us to trace the driver."

Anyone who would like to report drink or drug driving to police can also call 101 if it is not imminent - for example a habitual drink-driver – or via the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Operation Tonic forms part of the police's 'Have the Christmas You Deserve' campaign, which will be running throughout December. The campaign incorporates a range of activities to tackle issues related to the festive period, such as keeping your Christmas gifts safe and helping people to stay safe over the party season.

Police have warned that refusal to provide a breath specimen could lead to a six month prison sentence, a fine of up to £5000 and a 12 month ban from driving.

Drink drivers also face up to six months in prison, a fine of up to £5000 and a ban of at least 12 months. Anyone causing death by careless driving while under the influence of drink could be imprisoned for up to 10 years and banned for up to two years.

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