OFFICERS made 666 arrests of impaired drivers across Hampshire and Thames Valley as part of a festive crackdown.

Hampshire Constabulary and Thames Valley Police rolled out Operation Holly throughout December last year in a bid to clamp down on drink and drug drivers.

During the crackdown Basingstoke saw the second highest number of arrests for drink driving, with 25 motorists being arrested, five more than last year.

Across the whole of Hampshire 74 people were arrested for drug driving incidents, of these nine were from Basingstoke, the third highest area where the operation was in place.

More than 4,200 breath tests were carried out during the Operation Holly period by roads policing officers with 155 blowing over the drink drive limit.

Both forces said that there was a fall in number of drink drive arrests five per cent compared to last year, while the figure for drug drivers has increased on average by 28 per cent.

Road safety sergeant Rob Heard, from the roads policing unit for Hampshire Constabulary and Thames Valley Police said: “We’ve seen a small drop in the number arrested for drink driving, which is good however there continues to be a steady rise in the number caught for drug driving over the last few years.

“We need to consider that the increase in drug driver arrests is not necessarily because we have more drug drivers on the road but that officers can conduct road side drug testing, using drug analysers to test for a level of certain illegal drugs in a person’s saliva, which wasn’t available pre-2015.

“The difference being that there only needs to be a trace of one of the eight illegal drugs and no proof of impairment is required for a conviction.

“Our message is simple – don’t mix drink or drugs with driving, they may stay longer in your system than you think – It’s not worth the risk.”