ROAD USERS in a North Yorkshire village got more than they bargained for this morning (Tuesday, Dec 11) when the chief of police was seen directing traffic though the icy conditions in a high-visibility jacket.

Motorists travelling through Thornton-le-Moor during the morning commute faced a treacherous drive when trying to get up and down the steep bank in the village, between Thirsk and Northallerton.

A lorry jack-knifed and two coaches had become stuck in the village as a result of ice.

Chairman of the village parish council Ian Woods said he was shocked to see how bad the conditions were, but added that Acting Chief Constable Tim Madgwick prevented possible damage and injury by helping to ease congestion and slow traffic.

Mr Woods said: “We have had issues with North Yorkshire County Council for years with the road through Thornton-le-Moor.

“This morning the main route through the village, Thiefhole Lane and Thirsk Bank were virtually impassable – the gritters were out at around 8pm last night but since then it rained and then froze so some thought should have been given to treating the roads again.”

He added: “Mr Madgwick ordered school busses to stop and warned traffic to take care, especially where Thiefhole Lane joins the A168 – here the road descends to the main junction and there was real danger of cars sliding out of control into the main stream of traffic on the A168.”

Mr Madgwick said: "The situation needed immediate attention to prevent any further incidents and to ensure the safety of other motorists.

“No matter what rank you achieve throughout your career, your basic training and instincts never leave you.

“It was great to work with officers on the frontline again, thanks to all involved who did an efficient job in preventing any other incidents and getting the road reopened as soon as possible."

A spokesman for the county council said: “The road through Thornton-le-Moor is a priority two route.

“Salting of priority two routes began this morning at 6.50am but due to difficulties on the bank out of Thornton-le-Moor we closed the road and left vehicles able to use Thiefhole Lane, which we treated as well as the bank.

“Even when roads are routinely treated with grit salt during icy weather, continuing showers and freezing conditions reduce the time period when gritting is effective.”

The roads were gritted and reopened at about 9.30am.

*Meanwhile, motorists escaped serious injury when two vehicles collided on the icy roads near Sedgefield, County Durham.

The accident took place at 8.30am today (Tuesday, December 11) when a VW Golf and a Vauxhall Insignia collided.

No-one was injured in the crash at Bradbury, near junction 60 on the A1, which caused some disruption to traffic.

Durham Constabulary and County Durham and Darlington Fire Service have dealt with a number of minor accidents due to the road conditions today.