FOR the second time within four days, Okehampton suffered a white-out after another sudden, heavy snowfall last Friday.

The snow began to fall last Thursday evening and continued until Friday lunchtime which made for hazardous driving and caused a number of roads to be closed, including the A386 between Sourton Cross and Tavistock, and the A30 at Okehampton towards the M5.

The advice from police on Friday was to not travel unless absolutely necessary, which resulted in an unexpected day off for pupils from 12 primary schools in the Okehampton area, and students from Okehampton Community College.

These were Black Torrington Primary School, Boasley Cross Primary School, Bridestowe Primary School, Broadwoodwidger Primary School, Chagford Primary School, Exbourne Primary School, Hatherleigh Primary School, Highampton Primary School, Lewtrenchard Primary School, Lydford Primary School, Northlew and Ashbury Primary School, and Winkleigh Primary School.

Due to the snow, approximately 120 motorists were stranded and taken to Okehampton College where a rest centre was set up. The fire service helped with lighting after a power cut at the college.

One fire crew from Okehampton attended just before 3.40am on Friday. In addition a six-wheel-drive vehicle from Dulverton, moved down to Exeter to assist with any weather related incidents, was sent out to the rest centre with sleeping bags for the stranded motorists, provided by the Salvation Army.

Police were called to the A30 near Okehampton on Friday after they were contacted by a lorry driver around 2pm, who reported his windscreen had been smashed when a snowball hit his vehicle as he was travelling northbound near Meldon.

A police spokesman said: 'This type of behaviour is tremendously dangerous and could have had fatal consequences. In this case the driver managed to escape without injury but had to swerve and the situation could have been far worse.'

After the snowfalls on both the Tuesday and Friday, Okehampton mayor, Kay Bickley, said: 'On the whole Okehampton coped very well.

'Highways were fantastic and cleared the roads very quickly and people were safe and took extra care on the roads. Children were off school for two days — there were families and kids smiling and laughing and shooting down hills having fun. With the current recession, it was just great to have a bit of light relief for everybody.'