More than 200 drivers a day were caught using their mobile phones illegally in the wake of a crackdown on the practice.

Police forces in Britain penalised almost 6,000 motorists for the offence in the four weeks after tougher punishments took effect, equivalent to one every seven minutes.

Campaigners said the findings suggested many drivers were ignoring repeated warnings about the dangers of using phones at the wheel despite a string of publicity campaigns and the risk of harsher sanctions.

Other Incidents Include

Incidents reported by police after the tougher penalties were introduced include:

• A man was spotted doing his online banking while driving on the M5 motorway near Birmingham.

• Norfolk police stopped a woman who was responding to a message about her lost puppy being found.

• A lorry driver was fined for texting on the M2 in Kent.

• A 7.5-tonne lorry was driven around a roundabout in Bournemouth by a man using his phone.

• A driver was on his phone while behind the wheel of a school minibus with 10 children on board in Manchester.

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