Drink driving has soared in North Yorkshire since pub gardens re-opened in easing of lockdown, say police

Numbers of people caught drink driving have soared following the re-opening of beer gardens earlier this month, North Yorkshire Police has said.

Numbers of people caught drink driving have soared following the re-opening of beer gardens earlier this month, North Yorkshire Police has said

The force said it had seen a 75 per cent rise in numbers of drivers pulled over for being over the limit after pubs, bars and restaurants re-opened for outdoor service on April 12.

Some 35 drink drivers have been arrested in the county since then, which is a huge rise when compared with the same period in 2019, when pubs were last fully open.

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Of the arrests, 11 were in York, eight in Harrogate, six in Scarborough and six in Ryedale.

Police forces nationwide issued caution ahead of the partial re-opening of the hospitality sector this month, warning the public against driving after taking drugs and drinking alcohol, with North Yorkshire Police launching its 'Be A Hero, Stay At Zero' campaign.

Officers say they are disappointed and concerned that so many already have 'ignored' their advice.

Roads Policing Sergeant Andrew Morton said: “We’ve already encountered too many people who have ignored our warnings. Our message is simple – if you drink or drug drive, we will catch you.

“We have only just been allowed to start going to beer gardens again – don’t ruin this for yourself by losing your licence, getting a criminal record and driving ban, paying a heavy fine or going to prison.”

More than 20 of the 35 arrested since 12 April are due to appear in court shortly.

A further 17 drivers have been arrested on suspicion of drug driving offences – a slight reduction from the 20 arrested during the same period in 2020 and 19 arrested during the same period of 2019.

Sgt Morton added: “We will be continuing to urge people to think about how they will get home and to use public transport or a designated driver”.