IRRESPONSIBLE drivers got stuck in four-foot snow drifts yesterday after deliberately ignoring police signs warning them a road was closed.
Eight vehicles ended up stranded on a cross-border main road after driving past – or even removing – the warning notices.
The drivers were branded “idiots” for creating an emergency which tied up vital police resources for several hours.
Road chiefs shut the A697 in the Scottish Borders between Greenlaw and Carfraemill as a result of blizzard conditions.
Despite closing the 15-mile stretch in the early hours of the morning, the drivers of four cars and four lorries ignored the signs, entering from both ends. When vehicles met somewhere in the middle, the result was instant gridlock.
A Scottish Borders Council spokesman said: “There are a number of vehicles stuck there and workers are trying to free them. We put signs and barriers up during the night when the forecast came in – at either end of the A697.
“But they appear to have either removed them or driven round them regardless.” He added: “We would only encourage people to adhere to warnings – they are in place for a reason.”
Fellow borders resident James Towill agreed, writing: “The police should be charging these people. Far too much of a ‘softly softly’ approach with these idiots.”
The adverse weather caused major disruption elsewhere in the south east of Scotland as motorists battled icy roads and winds of up to 50mph.
Construction work stretching three miles on the M8 – Scotland’s busiest motorway – added further frustration to motorists travelling in both directions.
Tom Holligan tweeted: “For any later leavers there is a three mile long stretch of road works on the M8 just leaving Edinburgh.”
Matthew Kane joked: “I like how in Skyfall they omit the scene where Bond sat in rush-hour M8 traffic for two hours trying to merge on to the Edinburgh slip road.”
The Met Office (MO) said the conditions would not be as severe if it were not for the wind.
An MO spokesman said: “Well it’s a far cry from what we had this time last year with high temperatures of 27C.
“This weather system has come from Scandinavia and Siberia – it has brought with it a lot of precipitation made worse by the wind as it causes drifts and causes further disruption as it collects and blocks roads.
A Traffic Scotland spokesman said: “There have been several delays reported on Tuesday morning but this is fairly typical for morning rush hour – nothing to really suggest the weather has caused problems.
“The worst delays we have noticed is the stretch of the M8 between Bathgate and Harthill. We notify motorists to any problems or delays as soon as we can be liaising with the police and other bodies.”