A PILE of mud was dumped in a Mid Devon lane to stop drivers in their tracks amid concerns that the road could collapse.

The county council took the drastic action after motorists moved road closure signs and plastic barriers at each end of the secluded lane off the A396 near Bickleigh.

Nearby resident Chris Prentis has branded the stunt “plain bloody-mindedness” and said he was not told of the road block.

He said the mud pile makes it impossible for his granddaughter to walk down the lane to catch the bus to school every morning without getting caked in mud.

“I find the actions of whoever dumped this pile of soil in the road callous, thoughtless and inconsiderate,” said Mr Prentis, who has lived on the nearby Burnhayes Farm estate for more than 30 years.

“We’ve had no correspondence or notification of what action’s to be taken and we still haven’t been informed how long the road will be closed or when it will be re-opened.

“To physically close this road without informing residents who are affected appears extremely high-handed.”

A county council spokesman said: “This road is closed as it’s at risk of collapsing due to the recent continued severe weather.

“Despite informing the public of the closure using signs, people have blatantly ignored the warnings and continued to use the road, moving the signs, and putting themselves and others in danger.

“This has left us with no alternative but to block the road to restrict access until repairs can be carried out.

“Because this is an emergency situation we don’t have to consult residents, and though this may inconvenience some our priority is maintaining the safety of the community by ensuring vehicles don’t use this road in its current condition.

“Our highways teams are wor-king hard to undertake repairs as quickly as possible, but with lots of roads similarly at risk across the county this will obviously take some time.”