POLICE and the fire service have issued a warning to drink and drug drivers as the 2018 World Cup kicks off.

Greater Manchester Police has said it is ramping up the fight against drink and drug drivers and warns its officers are armed with more sophisticated technology than ever to catch them.

The announcement comes as the force launches its None for the Road operation, which sees increased patrols and road checks during the warmer weather and World Cup period — which they say usually leads to more people driving under the influence.

Last summer 722 motorists across Greater Manchester were breathalysed during a month long operation, with over a third of drivers testing positive for alcohol or drugs, or failing/refusing the test.

Inspector Harrison White, from the force's road policing unit, said: “The consequences of drink and drug driving have been well publicised, but there are still far too many people ignoring advice and putting lives at risk. Our message to motorists this summer is the same as throughout the year – make it ‘none for the road’.

“The warmer weather and longer evenings, combined with a football World Cup, can increase the temptation for people to have one or two drinks outside after work or during the match and then drive home – this is exactly the type of scenario that we are looking to avoid.

“It’s important that everyone gets the message loud and clear. We will not tolerate drink or drug driving, regardless of the circumstances or time of year. Our officers will be out around the clock and this operation does not stop at the final whistle.”

As part of their latest operation, officers are trying to hammer home the message of abstinence rather than restraint with drink and drugs in a bid to prevent the life changing injuries and deaths that can often result.

Police will also be deploying a modern drug testing device, making it even easier for them to determine if people are over the limit at the roadside.

If caught drink or drug driving, motorists could face a driving ban, criminal record and fine of up to £5,000.

Deputy Mayor for policing and crime, Beverley Hughes, said: “We want everybody to be able to enjoy the world cup safely — without the danger of drink or drug drivers being on the road.

“Drink and drug driving is never worth the risk - the consequences of it could see your life and the lives of others changed forever so please don’t make a thoughtless and irresponsible decision by getting behind the wheel.”

Football fans have also been urged to plan their lifts home from pubs and events before going out during the World Cup.

Ben Levy, Area Manager for Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, said: “The world cup only comes along once every four years and it’s a time to be enjoyed and hopefully a time for celebration - but even a small amount of drink or drugs can impair your judgement and ruin the fun.

“The fire and rescue service is called to far too many incidents where alcohol or drugs have been consumed by drivers before getting behind the wheel.

“Please enjoy the world cup by having a designated driver who doesn’t drink any alcohol or take any drugs, or by booking a taxi before going out.”

If you suspect anyone of driving under the influence of drink or drugs, contact the police on 101 or 999 if they pose an immediate threat to themselves or other road users. Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.