DRIVERS in Luckington have been getting that sinking feeling after trying to find a detour around a road closure in Sherston.

Satellite navigation systems and misleading signs have been blamed after dozens of motorists tried to drive through a ford at Brookend in Luckington only to get stuck in up to three feet of water.

The misleading depth gauge is causing havoc for drivers especially after heavy rain even though another sign by the ford says it is not suitable for motor vehicles.

Not only does the measuring post stop traffic from entering the ford on the shallow side, it also suggests the water level is a few inches when the actual depth around the middle is more like two feet.

Tom Lucarotti, 30, of Stroud Landscaping and Fencing, was one of the recent victims of the confusion, as he disovered to his cost.

"It was the first time I had tried to cross the ford, and I ended up having to call out the AA," he told the Standard.

"The depth of the water was actually nearer three feet, I later discovered. It cost me at least £600-£700, because I had to buy another van, and take out the engine to replace the one in my vehicle."

After the incident, Mr Lucarotti returned to the scene only to find someone else in trouble and then give them a tow out of the ford.

Former North Wiltshire district and Malmesbury town councillor Lesley Bennett, who lives next to the ford, has seen it all before.

"It seems that some people listen to their satellite navigation systems rather than look at the signs saying that the ford is unsuitable for motor vehicles," she said. "It has its funny side, but it's expensive - we often see £500-£1000 engines written off."

As the main road through Sherston is currently closed, due to a collapsed stone wall blocking the highway, many more people were trying to take a short cut via Brookend ford, and getting into difficulty, she added.