MORE Dorset drivers were caught using their mobile phones at the wheel during the first half of this year than during the same period last year.

Statistics released by Dorset Road Safe show that the No Excuse team issued 663 tickets to law-breaking motorists, compared to 646 in 2010.

Almost 7,000 offences of bad or careless driving were detected from January 17 until June 30, compared to 7,385 last year, with tickets issued in 4,419 cases. While seat belt offences dropped, mobile phone detections rose.

Brian Austin, project manager of the No Excuse campaign, said police officers had been amazed by the risks drivers were still willing to take.

Three motorcyclists were spotted riding without helmets and 15 motorists were not in proper control of their vehicle. Eight drivers had no valid MOT.

He added: “It seems some drivers were of the opinion that because of a reduction in the number of fixed safety cameras road traffic enforcement has been reduced.

“This is not the case and we will strive to decrease casualties even further and process more of the bad and careless drivers that are putting themselves and others at risk.”

There was no excuse for one man stopped for speeding in Poole who told officers: “Okay I was speeding but I’ve just taken £300 out of the cash point and wanted to get home before someone robs me.”

A driver detected with a child’s sunshade rolled down his window said: “The sun gives me a headache.”

Officers pointed out that a crash would give him a bigger headache to which he replied: “I didn’t think about that.”