Police officers pulled over the driver of a heavily laden car transporter on the M40 after spotting him controlling the vehicle with just one elbow.

They said the HGV driver was seemingly oblivious to the police as they drove alongside him in an unmarked cab on the busy motorway and videoed the offence.

However, he quickly put hands firmly on the wheel when they caught his attention and notified their colleagues travelling behind to pull the vehicle over.

Footage of a number of shocking incidents has been released by National Highways (NH) as police forces gear up for a week of action along the length of the M1.

One includes a driver who was spotted at the wheel of a horse box texting on his mobile phone – and without his seatbelt on.

Officers from eight different police forces will be patrolling the motorway between London and Leeds from Monday 6 March to Sunday 12 March looking out for incidents of illegal driving.

More than 33,254 offences have been recorded since the ‘Operation Tramline’ HGV cabs national safety initiative was launched by National Highways in 2015. And some 30,380 vehicles have been stopped by police partners.

The most common offences are not wearing a seatbelt (9,962) and using a mobile phone (8,368) followed by 2,257 who were not in proper control of their vehicle.

Consequences for drivers range from warnings to fixed penalty notices, court summons or arrest.

NH head of road safety, Jeremy Phillips, said: “We are committed to reducing the number of people killed or seriously injured while travelling on our roads by 50% by 2025 and we have a long term ambition for zero harm.

“To achieve that we need to tackle the unsafe driving behaviour that we sadly still encounter.”