MEMBERS of the public are being urged to shop suspected drink and drug drivers as this year’s annual Christmas crackdown gets underway.

Motorists caught driving under the influence as part of Operation Tonic, which runs throughout December until January 1, are being warned they will face a miserable Christmas and an extremely unhappy New Year.

As well as carrying out roadside tests and breathalysing all drivers involved in any kind of collision, officers are also calling on the public to report anyone they suspect of drink or drug driving by texting the word ‘drunk’ to 81819 or dialling 999.

Chief Insp John Holt, of the force’s operations and roads policing unit, said: “Drink and drug driving is totally unacceptable and is a serious crime.

“Most people regard it as socially and morally wrong and I’m sure they fully support our year-round campaign to make the roads of Avon and Somerset safer for all.”

The system of texting the 81819 number was introduced last year and had a good response from members of the public.

This year, it is hoped more people will know about it and use it, giving police the chance to apprehend offenders and, importantly, deterring people who might think about taking a chance on driving.

The number will be promoted on posters and beer mats throughout December as part of the force’s ‘Have the Christmas You Deserve’ campaign, which will tackle a range of issues specially prevalent over the festive period, such as keeping Christmas gifts secure and helping people to stay safe over the party season.

Insp Holt said: “We want everyone to have a happy, safe and crime-free Christmas.

“People should remember there is no safe drinking limit – other than not drinking at all.”

A total of 11,984 vehicles were stopped and some 231 drivers found to be under the influence of drink or drugs during last year’s campaign and just over 50 text messages were received giving information about suspect drivers.