A suspected drug-driver who was behind the wheel of a 10-tonne wagon has been arrested as part of a rural road safety operation.

Last week, officers from the Force’s Motor Patrols Department carried out a planned two-day operation aimed to tackle unsafe drivers and vehicles travelling on Northumberland’s rural roads.

Officers were on hand to monitor and pull over a number of motorists accused of having been under the influence of drink or drugs, as well as driving vehicles with defective tyres and brakes or having insecure loads.

The operation was focused around, the Hexham and Alnwick areas, and officers were left shocked as one driver of a 10-tonne scaffolding wagon tested positive for being under the influence of drugs.

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The 47-year-old man was subsequently arrested and remains under investigation.

As part of the operation, eight other commercial vehicles were taken off the roads after being handed immediate roadside prohibitions, while several warnings were issued for tachograph offences.

Sergeant Andrew Ferguson, of Northumbria Police, led the operation. He said: “Sadly we know first-hand of the devastating consequences that unsecure loads or poor vehicle conditions can lead.

“That’s why we ran this operation, focusing on some of the lesser-known rural roads in Northumberland which we know some larger vehicles do travel down, in order to make sure drivers are taking the necessary steps to protect all road users.

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“We all have a responsibility to make our roads as safe as they possibly can be – and ultimately, if you get behind the wheel of a HGV or car and that vehicle is not in a good working condition, you are putting lives in danger.

“We will be continuing to carry out a range of road safety operations across Northumbria throughout the year, and are committed to taking enforcement action if a driver is recklessly endangering lives due to the condition of their vehicle.”

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