Drivers abandon cars as hundreds caught in new Yorkshire snowfall

THE return of snow showers forced drivers to abandon their cars on an exposed road in North Yorkshire, the Coastguard said on Sunday night.

Up to 400 motorists were forced to stop on the A171 between Whitby and Scarborough, as conditions made driving dangerous.

The situation caused police to ask for the Coastguard to join their operation to free cars stranded in the snow.

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The Coastguard said some drivers had left their cars and set off on foot to seek refuge in local villages.

Coastguard Rescue Teams from Whitby and Robin Hood's Bay were mobilised to help police and Scarborough Mountain Rescue Team.

The wintry showers experienced on the East Coast were predicted by forecasters.

Drew Mahood, Watch Manager at Humber Coastguard, said: "Coastguards do not spend all of their time dealing with incidents on cliffs, at the beach or out to sea.

"Our equipment is optimised for life-saving on the coast.

"But it can also be used to assist in incidents of this nature, when severe weather strikes inland.

"Coastguard teams from Whitby and Robin Hood's Bay responded swiftly to assist in the recovery, with rescue personnel and 4x4 vehicles."

Last month's big freeze brought chaos to much of the country, with a thaw only coming in the last days of the year.

According to Meteogroup, the weather division of the Press Association, the weather will remain chilly, with rain, sleet and hill snow possible in Scotland.