A CAR had to be towed out of a flooded river after slipping off a ford yesterday.

Fortunately the driver of the blue Nissan was able to get himself out of the car at Stanhope, in Weardale, and reach the bank safely.

Police and firefighters attended the scene but were not needed after a rescue truck towed the car to dry land.

Onlooker Dave Harris, from Frosterley, who took the picture, said: "The people who live around here know that if you can't see the stepping stones you don't go in.

"Cars have got a lot lighter than ever and it is easy for them to be swept away.

"Strangers coming along don't realise how deep it is.

"The driver of the car was just sitting on the bank wondering what to do next."

The incident comes months after firefighters launched a £20,000 operation to rescue two men who had become trapped in their van while attempting to cross the ford.

The spectacular operation, in January, lasted two hours and included a rescue boat and helicopter as well as ambulance crews, police and firefighting personnel.

At the time, residents criticised the operation and motorists who ignore warning signs in a bid to cross the river.