PEOPLE who decide to get behind the wheel with alcohol or drugs in their system are being warned they run the risk of killing themselves or somebody else.

Essex Police is running their annual Christmas anti-drink and drug driving campaign throughout December and will focus on the experiences of officers who have attended serious collisions.

Insp Rob Brettell from the Serious Collision Investigation Unit said: "Driving under the influence of drink or drugs is stupid, reckless and irresponsible.

“Drink and drugs effect your ability to react while behind the wheel.

"Sadly we’re still seeing people taking the risk.

“In particular, we’ve seen the number of people we’re catching drug drive really increase in recent months.

"In fact we’re seeing almost as many drug driving arrests and drink driving arrests.

“Part of that is down to the fact that we’ve got more equipment to test drivers but it also shows the extent to which people think it’s OK to drive under the influence of drugs.

“It’s not ok. It risks lives and could lead to someone being seriously injured or killed.

“My officers attend and investigate the most serious collisions on our roads and it’s our job to tell families that their loved ones aren’t coming home.

“We know first-hand how it feels to deal with the worst crashes and we don’t want anyone else to have that experience.

“My message this Christmas is drive safe, drive sober.”

Officers will be carrying out proactive operations throughout the campaign but Insp Brettell says the community can play a part in keeping our roads safe too.

He added: “Information and intelligence from the public is really important to help us identify those breaking the law.

“If you see someone you believe is drink or drug driving or if you’ve got information about someone who does it regularly I need you to call us and let us know.

“I believe communities around Essex find drink and drug driving as abhorrent as we do and they can help us tackle those doing it.”

If you have information about a drink or drug driver please call us on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.