OVERALL fewer motorists were caught drink-driving over the festive period, Hampshire Constabulary figures have found.

But in Andover the number of people caught rose by five, compared to 10 during the same period in 2012.

The results of the Christmas drink- and drugdriving campaign, run in conjunction with Thames Valley Police under the title Is It Worth The Risk?, show that the number of those providing a positive breath test following a collision has reduced by 10 per cent across the two counties.

The biggest increase in arrests was in the Andover district, but on the Isle of Wight the numbers arrested dropped by 33 per cent. The overall number of arrests between December 1, 2013, and January 1, 2014, was 213.

Out of those tested, 84 per cent showed zero presence of alcohol in their system, 11 per cent registered a reading for alcohol but were under the drink-drive limit and five per cent were over the limit and failed the test.

The number of women arrested for impaired driving offences dropped by 31 per cent this year, and there was an 11 per cent increase in the number of men.

The oldest person arrested was 82 and the youngest just 17.

Of those arrested, 137 have been charged, 53 bailed pending further inquiries and 23 released with no further action.

The anonymous 80999 text number has proved a popular channel for people to report a suspected drinkdriver, with 63 texts received to the control room during the month of December.

Superintendent Chris Brown, head of roads policing for Hampshire and the Thames Valley, said: “We’ve run a joint campaign across Hampshire and Thames Valley for the past three years and the numbers of arrests have remained about the same across all five counties.

“This year we have seen a one per cent increase, despite a very high-profile and widely well-received campaign.

“We ran operations throughout December and have taken 213 impaired drivers off the roads. In one night’s operation alone we stopped 247 cars.”

He added: “We use the legislation and power that we have as widely and effectively as possible, and we will continue to do that yearround – but it is time to start thinking more broadly to target offenders, further reduce road casualties and make a positive impact on reducing drink- and drugdrive offences.”

Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Hayes said: “I would like to see these figures fall still further.

Everyone has a part to play in this by reporting anyone who chooses to ignore the law by drinking or taking mind-altering substances before they get behind the wheel.”