HUNDREDS of drink and drug drivers were caught by police over the Christmas period - with young men revealed as the most likely to offend.

Figures released from Operation Holly, which ran from December 1 to New Year's Day, also reveal a 10 per cent increase in arrests for across Thames Valley and Hampshire compared with last year.

Just over 600 arrests for drink and drug driving were made across the Thames Valley and Hampshire during their Joint Roads Policing Unit Christmas campaign.

A further 352 were charged and 175 released under further investigation.

In Thames Valley 347 drivers were caught driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, which is a 8.93 per cent increase from last year's total of 316.

In Hampshire, 254 drivers were caught under the influence of alcohol or drugs in their system which is a 12.6 per cent increase from last year's total of 222.

Over three quarters of those drivers arrested were male, with the highest offending age group across the two force regions aged 21 to 30.

The operation was a combination of high visibility patrols, covert operations and intelligence-led policing aimed at targeting persistent offenders and drink and drug drivers.

Members of the public were also encouraged to report anyone they thought were a risk to 101, or Crimestoppers.

Sergeant Rob Heard, Roads Policing Joint Operations Unit for Thames Valley Police and Hampshire Constabulary, said: "We've seen a rise in the number of people we have arrested for drink or drug-driving.

"New legislation and equipment has made detecting drug drivers much easier and this resulted in 63 extra arrests, 25 per cent of those were impaired by drugs.

"Our commitment in roads policing is unwavering towards preventing the distress and misery caused by driving under the influence of drink or drugs.

"Such behaviour on our roads has far-reaching effects not just for the impaired driver, but for any innocent road users affected by their destructive decisions.

"The lives of individuals and their families can be torn apart through a combination of physical, psychological and legal consequences.

"Too many people continue to be complacent about the realities of road deaths and serious injuries. That's why we want everyone to be clear about their responsibilities, and have respect for each other on the road.

"As in previous campaigns, we were greatly assisted by members of the public who passed us vital information and helped us take these drivers off the roads. Drink and drug driving kills or injures people.

"Our message is simple - don't mix drink or drugs with driving - it's not worth the risk."