Police taxi is a reminder not to drink drive

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As part of Sussex Police’s drink and drug-drive campaign for the festive season, officers are travelling around the Rye and Battle area in a rather different kind of vehicle.

Over the next month, the distinctively marked Police/Taxi vehicle will be patrolling the area and acting as a visual aid to remind people not to drink and drive but to get a real taxi home - to prevent them ending up in the police taxi on the way to custody.

Sgt Paul Masterson, from the Battle Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “We want to reduce the number of people killed or injured as a consequence of drink driving and we would like to remind motorists that receiving a conviction for drink or drug driving could ruin their lives and the lives of others. If you are caught you could face a criminal conviction, a possible prison term, a driving ban and could even lose your job.

“Plan ahead before you go out, think about how you will be getting home, especially if you are planning to go out for a drink, and stay safe.”

The December campaign is being run jointly by Sussex Police and Surrey Police alongside Sussex Safer Roads Partnership, Drive Smart in Surrey and the independent charity Crimestoppers.

As part of Operation Dragonfly, road policing unit officers are on dedicated patrols looking for offenders.

Police were out in force last weekend conducting stop checks at various locations across Hastings and Rother.

Following on from a new procedure introduced last year, those arrested and convicted for drink driving offences will be publicly named by Sussex Police.

As from earlier this week five people had so far been charged with offences, including one driver who had an open can of alcohol on the dashboard of his red Audi car.

A 30-year-old man will be spending Christmas behind bars after he was caught drink-driving for the third time in two years.

Arunas Abromavicius was already a banned drink-driver when officers spotted him driving a silver Volkswagen Golf erratically on December 2

When he was breathalysed officers discovered he was more than three times the drink-drive limit, was driving without insurance, was already a banned drink-driver and was in a car he had taken without the owner’s consent.

Magistrates sentenced him to 15 months and banned from the roads for four years.

Courts are working with police to fast-track convictions which means those charged could be off the road within weeks.

Police teams will also respond to tip-offs from members of the public who see someone they know has been drinking getting into a car to drive.

Text officers on 65999 with the details of people you suspect of drink or drug driving or visit www.operationcrackdown.co.uk.

If you know someone is driving while over the limit or after taking drugs call 999.

To keep up to date with officers looking for drink drivers, follow #opdragonfly on Twitter.