A police force in South West England has recorded more than 1,000 speeding offences and has prosecuted 160 drivers for using mobile phones as part of a Christmas crackdown on dangerous driving.

Over the duration of the three-week campaign, Devon and Cornwall Police targeted the “fatal four” motoring offences: using a mobile phone; drink or drug driving; breaking the speed limit and driving without wearing a seatbelt.

Traditionally police forces have used regular and unmarked police cars to crackdown on dangerous drivers, but this campaign has seen police officers taking to the roads in a lorry to catch reckless drivers from an elevated view.

According to road safety charity Brake, five people are killed on UK roads every day and more than 60 people suffer serious injuries. Drivers who use mobile phones or hands-free devices are four times more likely to crash than those who do not.

Imogen Wetton, senior serious injury solicitor at Thompsons, said: “The number of offences recorded in just three weeks in one region of the UK is quite startling.

“It’s positive to see Devon and Cornwall Police using innovative ways of targeting offending drivers in their region but this is an issue prominent across the UK, not just in the south west.

“Christmas crackdown campaigns certainly make a difference during the festive period, but reckless drivers need to be monitored throughout the year.

“Forces across the UK have suffered significant budget cuts and it’s unrealistic to think that they can keep this up without appropriate funding. If we are to see the number of people seriously injured or killed in road collisions reduce, the government must ensure that appropriate levels of funding is provided to forces up and down the UK so that our roads are safe for all road users.”