POLICE say a scheme to fast-track drink-drivers through the courts over the festive period has been a big success and is set to continue.

In December, Essex Police’s Christmas campaign saw 124 arrested – with most of them appearing in court within 24 hours.

Most of the offenders were banned from driving less than a day after being breathalysed, or being charged with failing or refusing to provide a specimen.

A total of 3,409 drivers were breath-tested in December, including 160 who had been involved in road collisions.

Of the 124 arrested, ten were suspected of driving while under the influence of drugs, or drink and drugs.

Adam Pipe, Essex Police casualty reduction manager, said courts would continue to deliver swift justice.

He said: “Excellent co-operation with the Criminal Justice Department and the courts has resulted in the majority of offenders being brought to justice within 24 hours.

“We hope this will bring home to drivers that police and the courts will continue to deal robustly with offenders and ensure they are taken off the roads as quickly as possible for the safety of other road users.”

Mr Pipe added there had been an apparent increase in the number of people thinking they were safe to drive after drinking the previous evening.

Those arrested included a man who was involved in a crash and refused to provide a sample of breath or blood.

He was given a six-week prison sentence, suspended for a year, and disqualified from driving for 40 months.

A woman from the Chelmsford area was also found to be twice over the limit when she was stopped and questioned while driving her children to school.

She was disqualified for 20 months.