A council in North Yorkshire has issued a plea to operators to ensure their drivers do not attempt to cross a 19th Century Grade II listed bridge over the river Ouse.

North Yorkshire county council (NYCC) said most HGV drivers are taking notice of the 10-tonne weight restriction on the Cawood Bridge in the village of Cawood, but that some are taking avoidance action too late and causing damage to properties.

In a letter from county councillor Don Mackenzie, he said: “Whilst most heavy commercial vehicle drivers do take heed of the advance signs and avoid the road to the bridge, a minority either disregard signs or perhaps rely on personal satellite navigation systems which take them towards the bridge.

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“Reaching the bridge, drivers realise they cannot cross and try to reverse or turn away from it causing risk to pedestrians, other road users and householders and, on occasion, damage to properties.”

Jo Boutflower, head of business and consumer services at NYCC said the most common excuse is that the driver was relying on their satnav: “It doesn’t excuse them for not paying attention to the signs that are around, but it’s a common theme,” she said.

“Some drivers are supplied with specialist satnavs but some are relying on their own personal satnav.

“We take into account any mitigating factors, but we will prosecute for the deterrent effect.”