ROAD signs have been erected in an effort to stop lorry drivers, especially those from abroad, being stranded in a village.

There are hopes that the signs, with an illustration of a truck, will persuade them not to drive through Whorlton, near Barnard Castle, County Durham.

In the past, big trucks have entered the village but have been unable to get past a narrow stretch of road leading to a 174-year-old suspension bridge over the River Tees.

Retired dentist Keith Calder counted 14 trucks getting stuck during a three week survey. Almost all were foreign drivers who said they did not understand the existing signs when trying to reach the A66.

Mr Calder said: "We must hope that the new signs will be easier for the foreign drivers, but only time will tell."

Stranded drivers have reversed on to the village green and churned up the grass. Some damaged garden walls.

One Austrian driver got his lorry past the narrow stretch, but got stuck at the bridge. The road was closed for hours.

Durham County Council has put up the signs, one by the A67 Darlington to Barnard Castle road, the others on a side road, pointing the way to the A66.

John Stanwix, chairman of Whorlton Parish Council, said: "We wanted the county council to create a chicane making it impossible for lorries to get into the village at all, but officials refused."

Jeff Stephenson, a county highway engineer, said, "The signs clearly show the lorry route to the A66, so there is no excuse for any to go into the village now."