VIDEO: Villages cut off by snow drifts

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VILLAGES around Burnley were left completely cut off as extreme snow storms battered East Lancashire.

The area was hit by some of the worst blizzards in decades and many roads were left impassable by huge snow drifts up to 6ft deep.

Snow-jammed routes into Worsthorne had to be dug out by villagers and roads around Cliviger and Newchurch-in-Pendle were badly affected.

Residents along Todmorden Road, Briercliffe, had been snowed in for three days as the wintry weather and sub-zero temperatures showed no signs of relenting.

Tony Wiaczek, of the Roggerham Gate Inn, Briercliffe, said: “The weather really has been bad. I have been here 20 years and this is some of the worst weather I have seen.

“We cannot get through the road. The snow is level with the top of the walls.

“We have been trapped in here for three days.

“We got shovels and tried to dig it out but it is impossible the drifts are between 5ft and 7ft deep.

“Some people couldn’t get home on Friday and have had to stop in hotels.”

The freak winter weather saw between 10cm and 20cm of snow fall in some areas over the weekend as it looks to be the coldest March in half a century.

Gritters and snow ploughs were out in force clearing priority routes in Burnley, Pendle and the Ribble Valley.

The snow was so bad that two gritters has to be rescued in Blacko and a snow plough was struggling in Fence.

Motorists were hit hard as snow caused treacherous driving conditions with many drivers abandoning cars in the snow.

The M65 between Burnley and Colne was down to one lane on Friday night with snow sticking along the motorway.

Bus services were severely affected by the weather. Main Routes between Padiham, Burnley and Nelson were largely running but services to Sabden, Worsthorne, Brunshaw and other outlying areas were suspended over Friday and into Saturday.

Rossendale and Pendle Mountain Rescue Teams had a busy weekend supporting ambulances crews and rescuing motorists.

Graham Dalley, of RPMRT, said: “What we have dealt with in the last couple of days is drifting snow which has caught everybody out.

“We were continuously working for 48 hours.

“We have been called to everything from helping ambulances sliding on the roads to people stuck in vehicles and rescuing people from snow drifts.

“It has been quite epic.”