MOTORISTS in Chard and Ilminster have been warned by police of the “disastrous consequences” of drinkdriving after figures showing the number of arrests over the summer months were released.

In June, Avon and Somerset Police ran Operation Tonic in a bid to raise the awareness of drink-driving and this week they confirmed 21 people had been arrested in their East Somerset district, which includes both South Somerset and the Mendips.

Ch Supt Ian Smith said: “Drink-driving is an issue we take very seriously all year around.

“We’ll stop anyone we believe to be driving under the influence of alcohol whenever and wherever we find it and we also run campaigns every summer and Christmas to remind people why it’s dangerous, illegal and, quite frankly, reckless to drink-drive.

“Our advice is not to drink at all if you are planning to drive.”

Insurance company requested the data and its accompanying study found that nearly half of motorists in the South-West (49%) believe there is more temptation to drink alcohol in the summer months – with nearly two-fifths (39%) admitting they are more inclined to have an alcoholic drink when the sun is out.

Data they received from the police force showed that 471 people were arrested across Avon and Somerset for drinkdriving in 2013 during June, July and August, while more than half (51%) of drinkdrivers in the South-West offended during the summer months.

Ch Supt Ian added: “Driving is a privilege and not a right.

“Drivers who abuse that privilege and endanger others will be targeted and arrested.

“Anyone who thinks a driver may be over the limit and driving should contact Avon and Somerset Police without delay on 999.”