Police are cracking down on farmers leaving mud on roads and causing dangers to motorists after increase in mud-related crashes.

Police have warned drivers to take care after an increase in road traffic accidents in North Devon caused by mud.

Figures released today (Wednesday) show there has been a 42 per cent increase in collisions in the Great Torrington area where mud on the road has been recorded as a contributing factor.

A North Devon partnership is now aiming to crack down on busy farmers who leave the road dangerous for others and want them to put out signs to warn motorists and cyclists of mud on the road.

The area has seen a total of 34 road traffic collisions recorded over the past year from December 2014 to November 2015 - although police feel there will have been many more unreported.

As well as being illegal, it is essential that farmers take steps to minimise the impact of mud on the road.

PC Ash Steer, from Torrington, said: “I would urge people to report significant amounts of mud so it can be assessed or cleaned up.

“This increase in incidents relating to mud on road have shown there is a clear problem locally.

“Whilst there is a likelihood of some mud being left on the road due to the rural locations we live and work in, it is important that farmers remember their responsibilities and ensure their work does not have a detrimental effect on other road users, especially more vulnerable road users such as motorcyclists.”

“Simple steps such as cleaning mud off wheels before going onto the road, using separate vehicles for field work and using the correct appropriate signage can all help make the road a safer place and ultimately prevent prosecution arising as a result of leaving mud on the road”

Police have released the following top tips for driving in wet and muddy conditions:

• Pay attention to warning signs, particularly ‘Slippery Road’ and ‘Mud on Road’ signs

• Reduce your vehicle’s speed to account for the hazard ahead

• Keep your screenwash topped up and windscreens clear of dirt and dust

• Look out for flashing amber beacons of agricultural vehicles using the road

Police are urging motorists to report any hazardous mud on the road in order for it to be assessed and cleaned up where necessary.

To report a non-urgent crime please email the 101 team or by email at 101@dc.police.uk.