Updated: Drink-drivers will spend Christmas Eve in court

FOUR drivers will spend Christmas Eve in court after being caught out in the latest phase of a police crackdown on drink-driving in South Essex.

Officers launched a Christmas awareness and enforcement campaign to stop people who put other motorists at risk by getting behind the wheel whilst drunk.

The Essex road policing team has already carried out more than 2,500 breath tests across the county and a total of 79 people have been charged with drink-driving related offences.

Gareth Driscoll, 50, was arrested outside his home in Homestead Drive, Basildon, shortly after midnight on Saturday.

He has been charged with one count of failing to provide a specimen of breath and one count of being in possession of a Class A drug.

The scaffolder has been released on police bail ahead of his appearance at Basildon Magistrates Court on Tuesday.

Just an hour later officers stopped Darren Mullan, 25, as he was leaving Festival Leisure Park, Basildon, following a night out.

They had spotted a rear light was broken but attempted to carry out a routine breath test.

Mullan was arrested and later charged with one count of failing to provide a specimen of breath, one count of taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent, one count of driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence and one count of driving without insurance.

The labourer, of Carnation Road in Rochester, Kent, has also been released on police bail and will appear before Basildon Magistrates Court.

Driscoll and Mullan will be joined in court on Christmas Eve by Andrew Wood, 31.

The financial broker was stopped whilst driving his Audi R8 on Queensway, Southend, shortly after 3am on Saturday.

Wood, of Richmond Road in Twickenham, South West London, has been charged with one count of driving while under the influence of alcohol.

Another man will appear at Chelmsford Magistrates Court after his car was found in a ditch off Church Lane, Little Baddow, at around 6.30am on Saturday.

James Tyler, a 25-year-old security guard, was later charged with driving while under the influence of alcohol.

The police operation will continue until New Years Day.

Officers are urging members of the public to give them information about motorists who they believe to be drunk behind the wheel.

The police can be contacted on 999 or 101.

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