THE number of motorists caught drug driving has more than doubled compared to the same stage last year.

The shocking figures released by Essex Police show that between January and March 2018 there were 224 drug driving arrests in the county.

During the same period this year that has doubled to 470.

In total, there have been a 50 per cent rise in all drink and drug driving related arrests during the first three months of the year.

Acting Chief Insp Sharn Taylor, head of roads policing, said cracking down on drug drivers will be a clear focus for the force's summer anti-drink and drug driving campaign.

She said: “We’ve seen a big rise in the number of people arrested on suspicion of drug driving in recent months and it’s a real concern.

“Drug driving arrests outstripped drink driving arrests for the first time ever last November and since then we’ve regularly seen more arrests for it.

“It is totally unacceptable.

"Taking drugs like cocaine and cannabis is illegal anyway but to then get behind the wheel of a car, putting your life at risk as well as other road users, is reckless and we won’t stand for it.

“Could you live with yourself if you had a crash because you were drunk and you seriously injured or killed someone?

“More officers than ever are trained and equipped with drug wipes meaning if you drug drive we’re even more likely to catch you, arrest you, and get you off the road.

“My officers will be carrying proactive operations throughout the summer as well as acting on intelligence and stopping people driving erratically.

“If get caught drink or drug driving you could lose your licence.

"You could lose your job as a result and that could have a huge impact on you and your family.

“Simply, don’t do it.

"Our message this summer is drive safe, drive sober.”