More than 150 people have been punished for using mobile phones behind the wheel across the Thames Valley since tougher penalties came into force last week. 

A total of 153 motorists across the area have been given six points and a £200 fine for using a handheld device since the new rules came into place five days ago. 

Despite it being illegal to use a mobile phone behind the wheel since 2003, thousands of drivers are still caught every year. 

Since March 1, new rules have meant that motorists who have had their licences for less than two years will be banned if they use their device behind the wheel. 

The new legislation has also seen the fixed penality doubled to £200 if you are caught. 

Thames Valley Police reported that between January 1 2014 and September 30 2016 there were 145 crashes across the area where the use of a mobile phone while driving may have been a “contributory factor.”

From Wednesday (March 8), drivers will also no longer be “routinely” offered an awareness course as an alternative to a fixed penalty notice, as part of a policy change across both TVP and Hampshire Constabulary.