Crash that shut A1 involved caravan cut in half to create ‘makeshift trailer’

A driver left a trail of household items strewn across the A1 after he crashed a caravan cut in half to create a makeshift trailer.

Thursday, 29th July 2021, 3:27 pm
Updated Thursday, 29th July 2021, 3:38 pm
A washing machine was among the debris left on the A1 and the crash.

The debris, including a washing machine, brought traffic to a standstill near Morpeth earlier this month.

Officers from Northumbria Police were forced to spend hours ensuring the highway was clear of debris following the ‘incredibly serious incident’, which they added had been lucky to not injure anyone.

Chief Inspector Mick Hall said: “While the driver may not have intended to endanger the lives of other road users, there’s no question that this was the case after turning a caravan into a trailer which was clearly unsafe to be towed.

The caravan cut in half to make a trailer.

“Once it overturned, a huge amount of possessions were strewn across a busy carriageway in dark conditions – it is nothing short of sheer luck that nobody was injured.”

The vehicle, a Land Rover Freelander, was later seized by police and the driver is to be reported for driving a vehicle in a dangerous condition and having an invalid licence, after the 12-month period that his Isle of Man licence allowed him to drive on UK roads expired.

While the bottom half of the caravan-turned-DIY-trailer met its end on the A1, the top was left in the driver’s front garden in Elizabeth Street, Widdrington Station, prompting angry families to contact landlord Karbon Homes demanding it be removed after the family abandoned the property.

After sitting there for more than two weeks, one neighbour, who asked not to be identified, said: “We’ve had enough, I’ve got to come out of my house every day and look at it.”

The remnants of the caravan have now been removed.

Kelly Taylor, assistant director of housing at Karbon Homes, said: “We’re committed to keeping our neighbourhoods clean, tidy and free of rubbish and we regularly work with our residents and local communities to do this.

“In circumstances where a resident has abandoned a property, we are required to follow a legal process before we are able to take action and clear the property and the garden.

“The removal of the debris was considered a top priority and clearance of the garden has now been completed.”

Police, meanwhile, have urged the public to use the incident as a cautionary tale.

Chief Inspector Hall added: “We hope this incident offers an important reminder to everyone about the potential dangers of towing unstable and unsafe loads.

“We will continue to do all we can to make our roads as safe as possible and would ask anybody who sees anybody driving in a dangerous manner to report it to us.”

Reports of road incidents and dashcam footage can be shared via the ‘Tell Us Something’ page of Northumbria Police’s website.

Local Democracy Reporting Service