Covid: North Yorkshire flood-trapped car 'put lives at risk'

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media captionThe car was driven into a ford in North Yorkshire where it became stuck.

Four men "put people's lives at risk" after they drove into a national park during the Covid lockdown and their vehicle was swept away by floodwaters.

The group, from Middlesbrough, escaped from the vehicle that was swamped at a ford at Hob Hole in North Yorkshire.

The North York Moors Moorland Organisation said the group had endangered locals by going to the area.

Cleveland Mountain Rescue Team said it emerged the car had been abandoned hours before they were called.

image copyrightNorth York Moors Moorland Organisation
image captionThe group had been in the vehicle and attempted to cross a flooded ford in the national park

Tina Brough of the moorland organisation said the men had put residents in the park at risk during the pandemic by travelling almost 20 miles from their homes.

Ms Brough said: "That car had gone through a 'road closed' sign to get to the ford. Not only gone through the sign, but got to the ford and thought it was safe to cross.

"The message really is, just think twice, is it an essential journey? You're putting people's lives at risk by doing what you're doing."

"The locals are really upset, at the end of day, the area they [car occupants] are travelling to are people's homes.

"People who can't work from home are sometimes working outside, they may be bumping into people who realistically shouldn't be there.

"Nobody wants to be a killjoy, applying common sense - is this the right time to be doing what they are doing?"

image copyrightCleveland Mountain Rescue
image captionCleveland Mountain Rescue team were called to the incident in the early hours of Tuesday

Cleveland Mountain Rescue said they were called to the scene at 00:31 GMT on Tuesday by North Yorkshire Police.

The rescue team were initially unaware the car had been abandoned several hours earlier and conducted searches to see if anyone was trapped or had been washed downstream.

The team deployed 22 members and was at the scene for five hours.

image copyrightNorth York Moors Moorland Organisation
image captionThe car had been abandoned by the men after being swept by flood waters at the ford

Ms Brough added that over the previous weekend the North York Moors had seen a large influx of vehicles and in some instances farmers could not access fields with livestock in them because of cars parked over gateways.

She said there were people sledging and walking in the fields. "We don't want to be killjoys, we need common sense, is this common sense?"

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