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Phone warning to drivers as more than 200 caught in blitz

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Police news

More than 200 drivers were caught using their mobile phones while behind the wheel during a week-long clampdown across Norfolk and Suffolk, police have revealed.

A total of 102 people around Norfolk were issued with tickets during the latest Operation Ringtone campaign last month, with 149 facing the same fate in Suffolk.

Although the Norfolk figure is lower than that recorded in the last similar campaign in November, the Suffolk does show a rise.

And, with tougher penalties of a £200 fine and six penalty points due to come into force next month, police chiefs say the fight against the problem will continue.

Norfolk police and crime commissioner Lorne Green said: “When talking to the people of Norfolk about their safety concerns, dangerous driving is one of their top worries, and few people claim never to have seen someone texting or talking while driving.

“I fully support increased enforcement campaigns like this to target offenders and bring them to justice.

“But there’s only so much our police can do to keep Norfolk’s roads safe – the rest comes down to social responsibility.

“People making a selfish decision to reach for their phone while driving not only put themselves at risk, but also their passengers, other road users and pedestrians.”

Suffolk commissioner Tim Passmore added: “Using a mobile phone at the wheel is reckless and costs lives.

“It absolutely horrifies me when I see drivers on their phones and sadly we see it all too often.

“Nothing that anyone is talking about on their phone while they are driving can be so important that it is worth risking their own life and the life of others.”

Meanwhile, senior officers have also urged communities to help them to target those who breach speed limits on the county’s roads.

During Mr Green’s public accountability forum meeting, held in King’s Lynn on Monday, Middleton parish council chairman Mick Porter voiced concerns about what he suggested was a lack of priority given to the issue in his area.

He claimed that officers had declined to use data recorded by a speed display sign the council had purchased, adding: “That was a waste of our money.”

But Norfolk chief constable Simon Bailey said the information was vital to help them target speeders, particularly at a time of limited resources for the force.

He urged the village to follow the example of other areas and revive its previous Speedwatch programme so the issue could be monitored better.

He said: “We will allocate our resources according to that threat.”

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