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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 May 2007, 13:36 GMT 14:36 UK
Crackdown on lorries using bridge
The bridge
A survey in 1996 found that the 13th Century bridge was weakening
A crackdown has begun to stop lorry drivers breaking a ban and using an 800-year-old bridge as a shortcut.

The 13th Century bridge on the A415 through Newbridge, Oxfordshire, is used by heavy goods vehicles as a route to Witney despite an 18-tonne limit.

But village campaigners have been fighting for years to stop them using the bridge, which has been weakened.

On Tuesday, trading standards officers and police went to the site to hand out fines to those breaking the ban.

Local fears

Eight lorry drivers were given 80 fixed penalty notices for using the bridge.

Nigel Strick, of Oxfordshire County Council's trading standards department, said: "You only have to stand by the side of the road and have one of those heavy goods vehicles go past to understand the fear that local people must have when these very large vehicles thunder through."

Villagers are also calling for cameras to be installed to stop lorry drivers - many of whom have claimed they are led over the bridge by satellite navigation systems - from using it as a short-cut.

A survey in 1996 found the bridge was weakening but because it is a protected listed monument strengthening work cannot be carried out.

Drivers say they are following Sat Nav directions.

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