In a crackdown on truancy in Hampshire, 260 pupils were checked but only 22 were found to be "playing hookey".

The rest were found to have valid reasons for being absent from school.

Police and education welfare officers worked together in the week-long drive, which took place.

In Winchester, 42 children were checked and only two were marched back to the classroom.

"Truancy is not a huge problem in Hampshire," said county executive member for education, Don Allen.

"Nevertheless, there is a small minority who do not attend school regularly and we need to tackle this in a robust way.

"Sweeps have shown that parents often need to be reminded about the importance of children attending school.

"There are just 190 school days in a year so a child absent one day a fortnight during his or her school time misses the equivalent of a whole year of education."

Many of the pupils stopped were out with a parent or carer.

A spokesman for the county council said: "Although it is recognised that somehad valid reasons for their absence from school, it was still apparent that a number of parents did not fully appreciate the damage caused to their child's education if they missed class.

"They also did not fully understand that they could be prosecuted for not sending their child to school."