Almost 500 drivers were caught using their mobile phones at the wheel last year, according to figures released by Cambridgeshire police.

The figures were revealed as the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire road policing unit announced its backing for the National Police Chief's Council (NPCC) campaign targeting those who use a mobile phone whilst driving.

Sgt Ian Manley, from the policing unit, said: "There are serious and sometimes fatal consequences of using your phone whilst behind the wheel. I would ask all drivers to consider, is it really worth it? The answer is of course no so please turn your phone off, on do not disturb or put it where you won't be distracted by it or be tempted to pick it up."

More than 1,500 people were caught using their mobile phone across Bedfordshire (371), Cambridgeshire (483) and Hertfordshire (717) in 2018.

Some 81 per cent of those dealt with were men. In Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire, they were primarily aged between 22 and 36-years-old, whilst in Hertfordshire the age band was 27-41-years-old.

Sgt Manley added: "You are putting yourselves and other road users in serious danger if you use a mobile whilst driving. It takes just moments for a collision to occur if you are distracted so don't be, just drive."

If you're caught using a hand-held device whilst driving or riding you will get an automatic fixed penalty notice which means six points on a driving licence and a fine of £200.

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire police said: "Your case could also go to court and you could be disqualified from driving or riding and get a maximum fine of £1,000 , or £2,500 if you're driving a lorry or bus.

"If you passed your driving test in the last two years, you'll lose your licence.

"In some circumstances, for example if use of a phone has caused or contributed to an accident, the police may prosecute for driving without due care or dangerous driving in order to secure a more severe punishment."