Swedish police have been stationed at the Øresund crossing every day since Sweden introduced border controls at the end of last year. But a surprising number of law-breakers still try to take their chances.
In the first three months of the year, officers at the Lernacken toll station on the Swedish side of the bridge nabbed a total of 37 drunk drivers, as well as 43 who had got behind the wheel after taking drugs.
It is a huge increase from last year, when only one drunk driver and three drugged-up drivers got caught.
“It is almost astounding that so many choose to drive their vehicles when under the influence when it is widely known that we are there at the toll station,” said Michael Mattsson, head of southern border police, in a statement published on Tuesday.
“It's not just that you're a danger to other road users, in cases where you're driving as part of work you're risking your job too,” he added.
Another 57 people were arrested for operating a vehicle without a valid driving licence.
Sweden introduced police checks on the border last year in order to stem a record number of 163,000 refugees travelling to the country to seek asylum, most of whom came via the Øresund Bridge, made famous from Nordic Noir detective drama The Bridge. Shortly thereafter, Denmark implemented its own border control measures which have since been extended five times.
While both countries’ asylum claim numbers have dropped since the measures were put in place, Swedish border police said on Tuesday that they had stopped 36 cases of suspected human smuggling since the turn of the year.
A police spokesperson told the TT news agency that they had received – unconfirmed – reports of people trying to get into Sweden by clinging on to trucks. One witness claimed they had spotted someone hanging from underneath a truck along the E6 motorway in Helsingborg.
“It's not more specific than that. And it's been indicated that someone is said to have seen something at a rest stop, they've seen people leaving a truck,” said Ewa-Gun Westford.
Refugee support groups have previously expressed fears of human trafficking and dangerous clandestine crossings as a result of Sweden's ID checks at the bridge as well as at Copenhagen Airport.
Earlier this month Danish police revealed that 25 people have been caught attempting to walk to Malmö in Sweden from Copenhagen since February 1st.
Of these, 20 were known to have registered as asylum seekers in Denmark while one had already sought asylum in Sweden, according to the News Öresund website, which first reported the story.
Danish police said at the time that they had installed new warning signs designed to deter walkers as well as heat sensors to better allow them to trace people making the potentially deadly journey.