POLICE described drink-drive figures as "dreadful" after 175 motorists were arrested during the Christmas and New Year campaign.

They included 59 in the central area - which covers York and Selby.

Officers carried out a total of 2,885 breath tests during the month-long crackdown.

There was a 2.7 per cent drop in arrests from last year, when 180 drivers were caught but 3,381 were tested.

Road policing group Inspector Chris Charlton said: "On the face of it that doesn't look too bad, when you consider that throughout a highly efficient 24/7 month-long campaign there were hundreds of thousands of vehicles using the county's 6,000 miles of roads, and only' 175 drivers and riders were caught drink-driving.

"But it is bad.

"Frankly, it is dreadful that there are still so many people prepared to risk their own lives and, worse, other people's.

"Everyone knows the risks, everyone knows the legal penalties and - thanks to the media - everyone in and around North Yorkshire knows that large numbers of police officers were out targeting this very offence.

"And yet there are individuals who are still prepared to take that terrible, potentially deadly risk."

The answer, said Insp Charlton, is that the force will continue to take a hard line with those who combine driving with drink or drugs.

All drivers involved in accidents will be breathalysed, there will be more unpublicised stop-checks, there will be more extra patrols specifically targeting drink-drivers.

"Drink-driving is not acceptable to the police, nor is it tolerated by the overwhelming majority of the people we serve," he said.

"People are against drink-driving and they are against drink-drivers - as we know from the growing number of calls to the police alerting us to individuals taking to the roads when they shouldn't.

"There is also a very effective system for alerting us to regular offenders. A simple anonymous call to Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 could easily prevent a horrendous accident, maybe even save a life."

The 2006 holiday drink-drive campaign ran from 1 December to New Year's Day.

During that time, five static checks were carried out in York and Selby and officers spent 261 hours at static check sites across the county.

Of the 2,885 breath tests administered, 825 were in York and Selby but only 14 were after accidents in which someone was injured - a 58 per cent reduction from last year.

Insp Charlton said: "Not all these drivers were necessarily the person responsible for the collision.

"Potential drink-drivers might like to bear in mind that they could well be caught if they are involved in an accident caused by someone else."