Eastbourne man and woman convicted in police drink-driving crackdown

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The police campaign to target drink- and drug-drivers throughout the month of December resulted in the arrest of 208 individuals in Sussex.

Between December 1 2016 and January 1 2017 officers across Sussex and Surrey carried out dedicated patrols targeting those suspected of driving while under the influence of either drugs or alcohol and raise awareness of the risks and possible consequences.

In the past week a further 27 people were convicted of driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, bringing the number of those prosecuted in Sussex as part of the campaign so far to 51.

Helen Curtis, 40, who is unemployed, of Whitley Road, Eastbourne, was arrested on December 14 in St Phillips Avenue and charged with taking a vehicle without consent, driving without a licence, driving without insurance and driving with 99mcg of alcohol per 100ml of breath in her system.

She pleaded guilty at Hastings Magistrates’ Court on January 4 and was disqualified from driving for 42 months and was also ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work.

She was also given a community order for drug and alcohol treatment, ordered to pay £40 costs and a £85 victim surcharge.

Philip Wigmore, 30, a roofer, of no fixed address, was arrested on December 18 in Lascelles Terrace, Eastbourne, and charged with driving with 64mcg of alcohol per 100ml of breath in his system.

He pleaded guilty at Hastings Magistrates’ Court on January 4 and was disqualified from driving for 17 months. He was also ordered to pay a £70 fine and a £30 victim surcharge.

Superintendent Chris Moon, head of roads policing for Surrey and Sussex, said, “While I am pleased to see that those caught breaking the law are facing the consequences of their actions by way of prosecution, it is still disappointing to see that a small minority of drivers think it is acceptable to drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Driving while under the influence is a serious offence and it won’t be tolerated.

“Just more than 28 per cent of those arrested in Sussex during the campaign were unfit to drive through drugs or were over the specified limit for having a controlled drug in their system.

“This follows the introduction of prescribed limits for a number of legal and illegal drugs in March 2015. Since this time our officers have been using roadside drug wipe testing kits which take swabs from the motorist and can detect cocaine or cannabis use within 10 minutes.

“The consequences of driving while under the influence of drink or drugs isn’t just a fine or a driving ban. You could lose your job, your family and potentially cause significant injury or even death. I would urge all drivers to think carefully before they get behind the wheel of their car.”

People in Sussex can text officers on 65999 with the details of people they suspect of drink- or drug-driving or visit www.operationcrackdown.co.uk/

You can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 (www.crimestoppers-uk.org/).