14-year-old among hundreds arrested in PSNI 'drink-driving' operation

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By Cate McCurry

A 14-year-old was among 322 motorists caught drink-driving in Northern Ireland over the Christmas period, police have said.

Some 11,000 drivers were stopped and tested during the PSNI's winter campaign.

The figures released on Monday show the number of people detected drink-driving dropped by more than 10% compared to the same period last year.

According to preliminary figures, 322 drink-drivers were arrested between November 30 and January 1.

One person was more than four times over the drink-drive limit, while a HGV driver who was returning to work was also discovered over the limit.

Police said the 14-year-old is accused of a number of motoring offences.

The oldest person detected was 83, while women accounted for 72 of the 322 arrests, compared with 49 females arrested during the previous campaign.

Another driver was caught driving under the influence of drugs after being involved in a collision.

Some £3,000 worth of drugs were recovered from their car.

Assistant chief constable Alan Todd said: "When we launched this operation at the end of November, we warned drivers not to take the risk because just one drink can impair decision making.

"Just one drink can cause a collision. Just one drink could kill.

"Early figures indicate that we tested over 11,000 people during the operation.

"While that figure is expected to increase as more information is downloaded, we detected and arrested 322 people for failing those tests.

"They can now expect a court appearance where they will most likely lose their driving licence for one or more years, be fined and will have great difficulty in obtaining car insurance in the future.

"Some are at risk of losing their jobs or even going to jail.

"We shouldn't be detecting people driving with any alcohol in their system."

Sue Brew, regional manager for Northern Ireland Crimestoppers said: "We appreciate that it can be difficult to come forward and provide information about drink-drivers, particularly if it's about a work colleague, a neighbour, a family member or a friend, because of the fear of being identified.

"During December, we saw a 65% increase in actionable calls with information about drink-driving, when compared to the average for the previous seven months."

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