A SECTION of the busy main road in North Yorkshire was blocked for almost six hours after a lorry shed its load of instant mashed potato.

North Yorkshire Police said the incident took place on the A64 close to Whitwell on the Hill, near Malton, causing unsafe driving conditions.

A police spokeswoman said: "Instant mash is covering the road and cars have skidded as a result of the mash swelling up."

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Police and the Highways Agency closed the road in both directions to allow recovery of the overturned vehicle and North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service were called to the scene to help clear the spillage from the road. It is believed the substance had frozen onto the road surface.

The incident happened at about 3.30pm, and the road was closed shortly after. Diversions were put in place in both directions.

At 8.30pm, police said one lane had been reopened to westbound traffic to ease "extreme tailbacks". And a short time ago police said the road had reopened in both directions.

The force had tweeted earlier: "Sadly the freezing chemicals are not lifting on the A64, despite grit and ploughs. The road remains like an ice rink. High powered hoses are being used by fire service but it remains dangerous to road users and is slow going."

The police spokeswoman said nobody was injured in the incident.