POLICE are warning drivers not to get behind the wheel this Christmas after indulging in drink or drugs and risk starting the New Year "in prison or a mortuary."

Merseyside Police will be naming and shaming on its website those arrested and subsequently charged with drink- or drug-driving offences.

With an increased number of parties and celebrations in bars, clubs, restaurants and friends' houses during the festive period there is traditionally a spike in the number of people prepared to drive after drinking alcohol or taking drugs.

Some 502 motorists have been involved in accidents this year with 20 of those proving fatal.

Merseyside Police will be cracking down on bad driving in particular those who risk their lives and the lives of others by drink or drug driving during December in a force-wide enforcement campaign that will see an increased number of officers out on the roads targeting those suspected of breaking the law.

Officers will be out in force throughout the month and will be paying particular attention to considered hot spot areas at night and early in the morning to target those risking driving the morning after drinking or taking drugs the night before.

Chief Inspector John Hogan, head of Roads Policing in Merseyside, said: "Despite the obvious dangers of combining driving with alcohol or drugs, every year there are a number of people who are prepared to flout the law and continue to drive.

"It only takes one of these people to lose control of their vehicle and kill or seriously injure another person - whether that be a stranger, friend or loved one.

"My officers will be out in force this festive period targeting these reckless individuals who will feel the full force of the law if we stop them and they are found to be over the legal limit."

Last year, Merseyside Police saw an increase in the number of people driving while under the influence of alcohol and drugs during its December drink and drug drive campaign compared to the previous year.

A total of 7,882 drivers were breathalysed by officers during the last festive period with 192 motorists arrested for being over the legal limit or failing to provide a specimen - an increase on the previous year's figures of 7,850 drivers breathalysed and 119 arrested.

Out of the 192 motorists over the drink drive limit, 33 were arrested following a road traffic collision with many of those collisions resulting in injury to themselves, other drivers and pedestrians. A total of ten drivers were arrested on Christmas Day.