Motorists are being warned they could well face criminal action if they use their mobile to navigate during car journeys.

The increasing use of apps which operate as sat-navs has led to a reminder from law enforcement agencies that getting distracted by handsets carries consequences.

While it is not against the law to use the apps themselves when travelling from A to B, motorists may well face action if they are reaching to touch the handset when behind the wheel.

Following changes to legislation earlier this year, which saw the introduction of tougher punishments, drivers in these circumstances could face a £200 fine or six points on their licence if they flout the law.

Part of the problem is that many motorists tend to assume penalties will only extend to those actually making calls or texting, whereas in fact other activities involving phones can also land people in hot water.

A spokesman for the National Police Chiefs’ Council said: “If an officer determines that a driver using their sat-nav hindered their ability to control the car, the driver could face prosecution.”

Sat-navs have become ever more ubiquitous, but police forces have warned that the technology can pose a multitude of problems.

Only recently a study suggested that as many as one in 20 drivers had received a speeding fine because they were using an app which had given a misleading gauge of the speed which they were travelling.

Further research has suggested that an over-reliance on the devices while driving can lead to a greater likelihood of people acting in a reckless manner.