Sign warning against mud on road© Nicholas and Sherry Lu Aldridge/FLPA / imageBROKER/REX Shutterstock

Motorists are being urged to keep an eye out for muddy roads and report them to the police, who will then consider whether to prosecute the farmer responsible.

Mud on the roads could become treacherous in wet and slippery weather, putting lives at risk if it wasn’t cleaned up, said Lincolnshire County Council.

Responsible farmers and other businesses, such as construction companies, should have the correct equipment to clear the roads during and at the end of each working day, it warned.

See also: Farmers warned over mud on roads

But they could also be charged by the police with much more serious offences, should an accident result from mud left on roads, said councillor Richard Davies.

“We have already seen several instances where dangerous amounts of mud have been left on the road, which should have been cleared by whoever was responsible,” said Mr Davies.

“This is creating an unacceptable hazard to drivers and could cause serious accidents.”

One rural road in Lincolnshire – Tower Lane, south of Waddington, near Lincoln – already had to be closed in early November due to excessive mud, said Mr Davies.

In this instance, the local authority’s highways department had to spend a day clearing the road, taking up time and resources that should have been deployed elsewhere.

“The county council and Lincolnshire Police have agreed it will normally be the police who instigate action against those responsible for leaving mud on the road,” said Mr Davies.

He added: “As a last resort, and in the interest of public safety, we will clean it up, but will recover any costs incurred.”

Chief inspector Mark Garthwaite added: “As with all calls for service we receive, calls about mud on the road are assessed to determine the risk posed to road users and the public.

“Our call takers will ask the relevant questions of callers to ensure we have the fullest picture of the conditions and risks posed.”

Mr Garthwaite said the police would consider a range of aspects, including the type of road, amount of traffic, weather conditions and warning signs.

It would also consider whether the field entrance was being used at the time – so a clean-up at that point would not be worthwhile – and so on.

“This would then inform the response we provide,” said Mr Garthwaite.

The response could include additional signs, advice to the land owner or company about their duty of care and the need to clean the road as soon as possible or closure of the road.

Prosecution would also be considered, if justified.

Mr Garthwaite said: “If a member of the public considers mud on the road to be a dangerous amount, they should call Lincolnshire Police.”

Police should be contacted using the non-emergency 101 line, or 999 if it is considered to be an urgent matter.