Episode 6 A1: Britain's Longest Road


Episode 6

Documentary series following the people who work on the A1. A horrific crash causes rush hour chaos, and traffic inspectors launch a crackdown on distracted lorry drivers.


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Transcript


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The A1, Britain's longest road.

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Stretching almost 400 miles from the city of London to the heart

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of the Scottish capital.

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Connecting two nations and passing through 18 counties,

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it's an unrivalled highway,

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used by hundreds of thousands of vehicles every day.

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We're going southbound down the A1 on the northbound carriageway.

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But not all journeys go to plan.

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I thought, I'm going to lose my life.

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Cars are coming close. It is a dangerous place to be.

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Lives can hang in the balance.

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The rear end of that vehicle, it's unrecognisable.

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This is actually the bodywork of the car.

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-24 hours a day...

-It's not a safe place here.

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..there's a team of people who keep us safe from harm.

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The police...

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response teams...

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We don't know whether we've got the road closed. We don't know what's happened.

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..and traffic officers...

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Keep going.

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-..keeping Britain's most iconic road...

-Get out!

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..on the move.

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Substantially damaged flatbed truck in lane two.

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The A1, the monster that it is, will start to return to normal.

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Coming up, a horrific crash,

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-with devastating consequences.

-You get one chance at life.

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And it's a really, really precious thing.

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The race to rescue drivers... HE WHISTLES

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..caught in a four car collision.

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One three. All vehicles cleared of the lane two now.

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And the lorries putting lives at risk.

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This is a fuel tank.

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The cap's missing and somebody's just put a plastic bag in.

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From the heart of London,

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the A1 stretches nearly 400 miles north,

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through rural Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire, past the industrial

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heartlands of Leeds and Newcastle,

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before finally ending in the city of Edinburgh.

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On the section just north of Newcastle,

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evening rush hour traffic is starting to build.

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A1 patrol officer PC Alan Keenleyside

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has stopped to investigate a heavy goods vehicle with Spanish plates.

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It's pulled over on the side of the road and is causing

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a dangerous obstruction.

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-HORN BLARES

-What's wrong?

-No, no. Two minutes.

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I go.

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This is not a place to stop.

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-No, I go.

-Now.

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-Yes.

-OK.

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-OK.

-Let me see your chart.

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The driver's tachograph reveals that she's reached the maximum

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number of driving hours allowed before taking a break.

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You've been driving all day.

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You should have stopped one, two miles up the road.

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But as Alan advises the driver about her rest break,

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another HGV pulls up.

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And the driver's eager to talk to Alan.

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All right, boss. No worries. Cheers, buddy. Thank you.

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And another driver has also seen the accident.

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Whereabouts?

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A pile up in rush hour traffic is serious.

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POLICE SIREN

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Alan needs to get there quickly.

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To be perfectly honest,

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it's now quarter past five on a Monday afternoon.

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Couldn't happen at a worse time.

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Multi-car crashes often result in casualties,

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but Alan's hoping for the best.

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The ideal scenario is when we get here is nobody's seriously injured,

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the vehicles aren't particularly badly damaged,

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we can get everything moved.

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The level of injury at the scene isn't confirmed at the minute.

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But ambulances have been asked for.

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It's these people going about their business,

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probably coming home from work,

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to see their families and their loved ones,

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and all of a sudden, they've left work,

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they don't think they're going to be involved in something big like this.

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There's a car in a tree, down the ditch.

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This is really, really key in people's lives.

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These are life-changing events.

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When Alan arrives at the scene,

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it's clear that he's dealing with a major accident.

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We've got a car over there with some serious damage.

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Got a Land Rover here.

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And two vehicles, three vehicles here, so quite a sizeable scene.

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With several injured motorists,

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vehicles and debris everywhere, and rush hour traffic thundering

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past, this job will push Alan to the limit.

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This is just one of more than 320 serious accidents that happen

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on the A1 every year.

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And it's the job of traffic officers,

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as well as the police, to deal with them.

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In Doncaster, two are about to head out on the early shift.

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It's 6:30am and Paul Day and Rob Larkin will be patrolling one

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of the busiest sections of the road.

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Turn them all on. All off.

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Yeah.

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And it's not long before they have a major collision to deal with.

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-RADIO:

-'Just hearing about a few problems on the A1.

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'Looks like we could have accident involving at least

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'a couple of vehicles on the southbound side,

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'it's now slowing to queue there, so looks like we could have a problem.'

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What we've got reports of is a multi-vehicle crash,

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so we're heading south to attend it.

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Four cars have piled into each other and, with rush hour traffic

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hurtling towards them at 70mph,

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Paul and Rob know the stranded road users are in danger.

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We'll stop traffic, we'll see if anybody's injured,

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make sure everybody's OK.

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We try and get everything back to normal as quickly as possible,

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-but as safely as possible as well.

-There you go.

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Is it there?

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Yeah, lane two's blocked.

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Even though the accident has only just happened,

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traffic is already starting to build.

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One three, lane two's currently blocked. At the location given.

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Paul and Rob need to get back down the other carriageway quickly,

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but the northbound section is also virtually at standstill.

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Look at that traffic.

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Fortunately, help is at hand. SIREN

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That should make it a little bit easier for us.

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What's good here is police attending gives forward traffic

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a way of moving out of the way.

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Cos they've got blue lights and sirens.

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-Within a few minutes, Rob and Paul are on the scene.

-We're here now.

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You want to stop everybody from that blue wagon?

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The damaged vehicles are blocking a whole lane.

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And the drivers are stood perilously in the middle of the road.

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HE WHISTLES With traffic still flowing past,

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they're in serious danger of being knocked down.

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I've got traffic stopped with code six. Police on scene.

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Having removed the vehicles safely from the carriageway...

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One three, all vehicles cleared of the lane two now.

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..Paul and Rob can reopen one of the lanes.

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A lane one close is better than a lane two.

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So that's what we've done, is put a lane one out.

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Now he needs to make sure the drivers are OK.

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-How are you?

-Shaking like a leaf, to be honest.

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Are you? You're all right. Can you tell us what happened?

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Right, so, big queue of cars in front of me.

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They all sort of suddenly stopped. I've managed to stop.

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But then just felt this car come straight into the back of me.

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Um, and then, it was almost instant, bang, bang, bang.

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Everything happened all at once.

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-I felt it.

-Did you?

-Yeah.

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Shaking a bit. Are you all right? Are you warm enough?

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-I'm all right, yeah.

-You sure? Got a coat in your car?

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-I'm fine, honest.

-Sure?

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Even with just one lane closed,

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the usual A1 traffic flow is halved and tailbacks are building fast.

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It's vital that Rob and Paul get the drivers and their damaged

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vehicles safely off the hard shoulder and open the whole

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carriageway as quickly as possible.

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I bet this is going back at least ten mile, this traffic.

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This could take all day to clear.

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The pressure is on.

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Can Paul and Rob get traffic moving before the repercussions

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reverberate for hours to come?

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For most people, a traffic jam simply means frustration.

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But in Warwickshire, a 200 mile journey is about to begin,

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where delays on the Great North Road will really mean someone

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getting the hump.

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Very curious animals.

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They like to know what's happening, what's going on.

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But that's a good thing really.

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You can always tell if an animal's happy, that they're curious,

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they want to see and look around.

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The Fossett family have eight camels.

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And tonight, three of their finest are the star attraction in Durham

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City's Nativity, giving the Three Kings a ride to see Baby Jesus.

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Right, hang on. Hang on.

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They'll just go straight to the food and then I'll tie them up

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once they're there.

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No, no, no. You've got one each. Go on.

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This is Kazak. Kazak's going today and also, we're taking Max.

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This is a young camel, Max.

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And Kokoso, you can't miss Kokoso.

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You're the best camel in the world, aren't you, Kokoso? Yes!

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But how do you persuade a camel to take a journey along the A1 highway?

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Max! Maxy!

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Maxy, come on!

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Max, don't disappear. There's a good boy.

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Max! Max!

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Where are you off to?

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You've got to be very patient with camels and very careful.

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It's no good trying to bully a camel,

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you've got to coax it into doing it.

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Come on.

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Good boy. Here you are.

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Look.

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Here you are.

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It's like people, isn't it? And children, you know?

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How you train your children

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is how they behave, isn't it?

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Kokoso, don't be barging!

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Back up, back up, back up.

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After travelling across the country, they'll face

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a 100 mile trip up the A1, so it could be a long and bumpy ride.

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Born into a circus family, Joseph spent a lifetime on the road,

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with all manner of weird and wonderful beasts.

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I've transported horses, elephants, I've transported lions down the A1.

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All sorts of different animals at different times.

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The rewards of being with the camels,

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because that's such a privilege, is so amazing. I mean, it's hard work.

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-Don't get me wrong.

-And no day's ever the same.

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Yeah, it's not for the faint-hearted.

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With hundreds of spectators expected, and the camels the

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Nativity's star attraction, the Fossetts can't afford to be late.

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We allow a certain amount of time with a bit of wriggle room to

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get to where we're going but, you know, we have to be there on time.

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You can't kind of let the situation dominate you, if you like.

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So, I mean, the Highways is on speed dial on my phone.

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And they're only halfway to Durham when Rebecca spots trouble ahead.

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Oh, dear. That is not good. That's not good. Where's my phone?

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Time to get on to Highways England.

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Oh, hello. We're on the A1M, going north.

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We're just by Ferrybridge Services and we've seen a slow down incident.

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Can you tell us what's going on?

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With trouble looming ahead, and nearly 100 miles to go,

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Joseph and Rebecca may need their own Christmas miracle to make

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it to the Nativity on time.

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Whatever the cargo,

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hold-ups are a frustrating part of life on the motorway.

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While roadworks and congestion account for the majority of

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delays, accidents are the main cause of jams.

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Nearly 120 miles north of the Fossetts on the A1, near

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Gosforth in Newcastle, the rush hour has been brought to a standstill.

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A1 patrol officer PC Alan Keenleyside is still dealing

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with a multiple crash in the fast lane.

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-So, he's coming at speed. He's hit that one.

-Yeah.

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-Which has then connected with either that one or that one.

-That one.

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His priority is to get the injured driver seen to,

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now that the ambulance has arrived.

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The paramedics are seeing to the driver of the vehicle that's

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taken the biggest hit of them all really.

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I think the driver is going to be suffering typically of

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whiplash-type injuries.

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So we're going to put a neck collar on him and I imagine that

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driver will be going off to hospital to be properly looked at.

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The rear end of that vehicle, it's unrecognisable.

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The lady driving the Land Rover has been fortunate to have

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escaped unhurt.

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Yeah.

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But she witnessed the whole thing.

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Footage taken from her dashcam captured the terrifying

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moment of impact...

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..when congestion turned into a multicar collision.

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I was driving along, traffic was slowing down,

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I'm slowing down with the traffic. And then, it was a silver car,

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and then it smashed into the front of me.

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And then, next thing, that car ended up in the ditch.

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It was as if something off like a Hollywood film.

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Just chuck a car into the mix.

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The positive thing is I'm walking away, I'm OK.

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It's a car. I can replace the car.

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My baby wasn't in the car, luckily.

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Or that could have been very bad for my little boy.

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-With the injured drivers receiving treatment...

-Come on, come on. OK.

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..the officers now need to get

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the road reopened as quickly as possible.

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We've got a clear front end impact

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with what we call vehicle number one.

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Cos that's the vehicle that we're looking at as potentially

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being responsible. But over there, we've got vehicle number two,

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which has taken a heavy impact.

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OK, would you like to follow over?

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Although police are trying to keep traffic moving,

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there's still dangerous wreckage strewn across the road.

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If we leave a bit of debris,

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a motorbike or car could see that debris,

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especially at night-time with the headlights, and they could actually

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swerve to avoid that debris, which could result in another collision.

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So we need to make sure when we clean the road that it's

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-cleaned properly.

-But there's another problem.

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The crashed vehicles have also spilled fluid all over the

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-northbound carriageway.

-It's mainly water,

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but there's a little bit of engine oil in it as well.

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It means that Alan has to hold up the whole of the southbound

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section, so that absorbent material can quickly be laid on the road.

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It'll only take about two or three minutes,

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so we need to get that absorbed to make the carriageway safe, so

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things like motorbikes don't slide on the road, that type of thing.

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The only thing left to do is to safely remove the wrecked

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vehicles from the side of the road.

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What you see on the back of the car there, that's all energy.

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That's probably 60 to 70mph's worth of energy.

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Now, Alan is able to review the footage from the dashcam

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for the first time.

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Wow!

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That Micra's taken a really sizeable collision there. Big collision.

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The roads are a cruel place.

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We hear stories from all over the country of a family in

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a car doing nothing wrong, sitting in traffic, and all of a sudden,

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there's children and adults tragically killed in a split second.

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And when you see things like this, it does hit it home. It really does.

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Because you get one chance at life and it's a really,

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really precious thing.

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Everyone is safe for now in Gosforth.

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But nearly 120 miles south,

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back at the multicar pile up in Doncaster, it's a different story.

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HE WHISTLES

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Traffic officers Paul Day and Rob Larkin are still battling to

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keep stranded motorists out of harm's way.

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Vehicles cleared of the lane two now.

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Having closed both lanes whilst damaged vehicles were removed

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from the carriageway,

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they've now reopened one of them to ease the traffic.

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Around 50 people are killed or seriously injured on Britain's

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hard shoulders ever year, so Paul's priority is the drivers' safety.

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What we do now is keep an eye on people because of the

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tendency to wander about without a view for any safety.

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So that's what I'm doing at the minute is keeping an eye on

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people who are in cars.

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We don't want anybody getting further injured.

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Like, there's a bloke I'm going to move now cos he's stood

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outside of that car.

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-Mate!

-HE WHISTLES

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The danger is somebody not seeing this lane closure and coming

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in to him.

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They'd just take him out. He's just not looking behind him at anything.

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To ensure everyone's safe,

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Paul needs to get the drivers and their vehicles off the carriageway.

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Watch yourselves, boys!

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But only two of the cars are roadworthy.

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The others will have to be recovered.

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That'll just save it coming off in the road then.

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Instead of leaving these two vehicles here,

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what we're planning to do is get the police to escort the Fiesta

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off to the next exit, so he can get recovered from there.

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With the white Fiesta safely chaperoned off,

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there's just the grey BMW left to shift.

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But it won't start.

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There's nothing there.

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So Rob and Paul will have to push it off the road.

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Right, we're going down this hard shoulder and the first little

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yard, we're going in there, all right?

0:20:380:20:41

But weighing in at around 1.5 tonnes, this isn't going to be easy.

0:20:410:20:46

It's a German BMW, great engineering,

0:20:460:20:49

they make them out of solid steel. It's really, really hard to push.

0:20:490:20:53

I hope he's had his porridge this morning.

0:20:530:20:55

No need for a workout today. Luckily, the car is facing downhill.

0:20:580:21:03

That's better. I've got grip.

0:21:030:21:04

Job's a good 'un.

0:21:090:21:11

Minutes later, a recovery truck arrives to pick up the grey BMW.

0:21:140:21:18

Finally, Rob and Paul can now start to get both lanes fully reopened.

0:21:220:21:27

Everybody's cleared the live lane, so we can open this lane.

0:21:270:21:30

We're trying to get it open as quick as we can.

0:21:300:21:32

It's taken nearly an hour and a half to clear the smash and the

0:21:320:21:35

effects on this two-lane stretch will be long lasting.

0:21:350:21:39

If it was normal motorway,

0:21:390:21:40

it'd clear a lot quicker cos you've got three lanes.

0:21:400:21:43

It can handle more volume.

0:21:430:21:45

But with it being two lanes, it'll take forever.

0:21:450:21:48

It can have knock-on effects all the way down.

0:21:480:21:51

-That can be pretty much everyday job, can't it, on here?

-Oh, yeah.

0:21:540:21:57

Every day, every shift.

0:21:570:21:59

It's because of the amount of traffic that uses this road.

0:21:590:22:03

-And people drive too close to each other.

-Too close, too fast.

0:22:030:22:07

Thankfully, this incident has ended without anyone getting hurt.

0:22:070:22:10

The A1 is one of Britain's key routes for lorries

0:22:150:22:18

transporting cargo.

0:22:180:22:20

More than 20 miles north, near Wetherby, an operation is under

0:22:200:22:24

way to identify HGVs that present a danger to other road users.

0:22:240:22:28

Lorries are responsible for one in five deaths or injuries in

0:22:330:22:37

accidents on the A1 each year.

0:22:370:22:39

So the stakes are high.

0:22:390:22:42

Faults like dodgy brakes or worn tyres on any vehicle are

0:22:430:22:46

a hazard, but on a 40-tonne truck, the results can be terrifying.

0:22:460:22:51

Parked up on the A1 is senior traffic inspector Paul Berryman.

0:22:580:23:02

Victor two in position. Northbound.

0:23:020:23:05

It's his job to spot suspect trucks.

0:23:050:23:08

It's hard to actually tell you what I'm looking for.

0:23:110:23:14

It's something that you...

0:23:140:23:16

It's an instinct you get over a period of time.

0:23:160:23:19

It's something just doesn't look right on the road.

0:23:190:23:22

If it looks a little heavy, if it's not being driven right.

0:23:220:23:25

And it's not long before Paul sees something that warrants

0:23:280:23:31

a closer look.

0:23:310:23:33

I'm just going to get that tanker there. That Belgian tanker.

0:23:340:23:38

Paul needs to overtake the lorry so he can signal him to pull over.

0:23:390:23:43

So I'll just get in front of him.

0:23:460:23:48

But he knows we want him now cos he's slowing right down.

0:23:480:23:51

The other thing I've got to watch is as I pull off the motorway,

0:23:510:23:55

if he doesn't feel like following me, he'll just continue straight on

0:23:550:23:58

up, which is an offence, of course, and he can be prosecuted for that.

0:23:580:24:02

And Paul leads him to a weighbridge site, just off the motorway, where

0:24:030:24:07

the team from the Driver And Vehicle Standards Agency are running

0:24:070:24:10

today's operation.

0:24:100:24:12

Hiya.

0:24:150:24:17

How are you?

0:24:170:24:19

I'm just giving it a quick look round,

0:24:200:24:22

recording the registration number.

0:24:220:24:25

Just make sure he's got all his necessary markings and

0:24:250:24:29

there's nothing hanging off.

0:24:290:24:31

With 30,000 litres of Belgian chocolate on board,

0:24:330:24:36

the driver's heading for York. For now though,

0:24:360:24:39

he'll be the one taking a break while Paul checks his paperwork.

0:24:390:24:43

Meanwhile, another lorry that was brought in earlier is getting

0:24:450:24:48

its mechanical once over.

0:24:480:24:50

And it doesn't take examiner Steve White long to find

0:24:500:24:53

a serious problem.

0:24:530:24:55

Right.

0:24:580:24:59

This is a fuel tank but obviously the cap's missing.

0:24:590:25:03

Somebody's just put a plastic bag in.

0:25:030:25:06

Obviously, that's going to result in immediate prohibition,

0:25:060:25:09

so the vehicle can't be going any further with that defect on it

0:25:090:25:12

until it's been rectified.

0:25:120:25:14

With only a plastic bag stopping hundreds of litres of fuel

0:25:150:25:18

from spilling all over the A1, it could be lethal.

0:25:180:25:22

Even the smallest patch of diesel can be dangerous to motorists.

0:25:240:25:28

So, until it's fixed,

0:25:280:25:30

Romanian driver Sorin and his truck full of clothing

0:25:300:25:33

won't be going anywhere.

0:25:330:25:34

You need to phone your boss and get him to send a fuel cap.

0:25:340:25:38

While Sorin makes his call, Steve moves on to the Belgian chocolate

0:25:440:25:47

tanker and spots a fault with one of the tyres.

0:25:470:25:50

I'll just show you this defect.

0:25:510:25:53

-You've got some damage on a tyre.

-Yeah?

0:25:530:25:55

It's not down to the wires or structure,

0:25:550:25:58

so at this moment in time, it's just advisory.

0:25:580:26:00

You just need to keep an eye on it, that's all.

0:26:000:26:02

With advice given and his paperwork all in order,

0:26:020:26:05

the driver and his delicious haul are on their way.

0:26:050:26:07

But things aren't quite so sweet for driver Sorin.

0:26:090:26:14

That'll be about 15 miles away.

0:26:220:26:25

About 20 miles... 15/20 miles away.

0:26:250:26:28

How are you going to get there? Taxi?

0:26:280:26:31

Taxi?

0:26:320:26:34

Sorin's day isn't getting any better.

0:26:340:26:37

First came the fixed penalty fine and now he's facing

0:26:370:26:40

a 30 mile round trip in a taxi to try and get a fuel cap.

0:26:400:26:44

Will he ever get back on the road?

0:26:440:26:47

On the A1 northbound near Pontefract,

0:26:520:26:54

Joseph and Rebecca Fossett are still en route to Durham

0:26:540:26:57

with their exotic load.

0:26:570:26:59

Tonight, their camels are carrying the Three Kings in the city's

0:27:010:27:04

Christmas Nativity.

0:27:040:27:06

I mean, at the moment the traffic's going but there's been two

0:27:090:27:12

signs saying "Incident, slow down, 50."

0:27:120:27:15

But with nearly 100 miles still to go,

0:27:150:27:17

a potential hold up ahead could be disastrous.

0:27:170:27:20

Junction 62 is clear.

0:27:220:27:25

It is. OK. That's brilliant.

0:27:250:27:29

Thank you very much. And you. Thanks. Bye.

0:27:290:27:32

Despite the warning signs, traffic keeps moving.

0:27:320:27:35

And after three hours, the Fossetts decide to take a break.

0:27:370:27:40

-Hello!

-Hello, my babies.

0:27:420:27:44

In the desert, camels can go days without water...

0:27:440:27:49

Back up, poppet.

0:27:500:27:52

..but on the car park of some local services...

0:27:520:27:54

In you go. Back up, back up.

0:27:540:27:56

..Kazak, Max and Kokoso look grateful for some refreshments.

0:27:560:28:00

-Look at the way Kazak just...

-SHE MIMICS MUNCHING

0:28:020:28:05

He just takes the most enormous mouthful.

0:28:050:28:08

Look at you, it's all falling out your mouth, you greedy thing!

0:28:080:28:12

And this little taste of Arabia is certainly causing

0:28:150:28:19

a stir at this Yorkshire service station.

0:28:190:28:21

You get some strange looks, yes, with members of the public

0:28:230:28:26

But we have to be careful.

0:28:260:28:28

I like to keep it closed up as much as possible because otherwise we

0:28:280:28:31

get crowds of people round wanting to take photographs.

0:28:310:28:33

We always get the same joke -

0:28:360:28:37

which one's called Humphrey?

0:28:370:28:40

So before anyone gets the hump...

0:28:400:28:43

Hey, hey! Don't do that. That's not nice.

0:28:430:28:45

..it's time to get these camels back on the road.

0:28:450:28:47

Thankfully, the A1 gods are on their side and the road ahead looks clear.

0:28:530:28:58

The Fossetts are hoping red sky at night is less shepherd,

0:29:000:29:03

more camel's delight.

0:29:030:29:05

Meanwhile in Durham,

0:29:100:29:11

the crowds are building as the city prepares

0:29:110:29:14

for the annual Nativity parade.

0:29:140:29:16

With the Star of David to guide them,

0:29:160:29:19

all's in place for the camels' shining role.

0:29:190:29:22

So will they make it to the inn on time?

0:29:220:29:25

With less than an hour to spare,

0:29:270:29:29

it looks like the crowd's prayers have been answered.

0:29:290:29:32

Come on, then, Kazak.

0:29:320:29:34

With the three camels delivered safely...

0:29:340:29:36

..the rush is on to make them fit for their kings.

0:29:370:29:40

We've got 45 minutes to get these camels fed, watered, tacked up.

0:29:430:29:48

45 minutes isn't very long, so that's what we're doing now.

0:29:480:29:52

But the festive period isn't just the busiest time of year

0:29:580:30:01

for camels.

0:30:010:30:03

In December, our road networks creak under the pressure

0:30:030:30:06

of millions of us rushing to get our Christmas shopping done.

0:30:060:30:09

And just outside the retail mecca of Newcastle,

0:30:100:30:13

A1 patrol officer PC Darren Lant is using the latest

0:30:130:30:16

technology to track cars driving illegally on the road.

0:30:160:30:20

So we've pulled up, and we're letting the automatic number plate

0:30:270:30:30

recognition system camera that's fitted to the car

0:30:300:30:33

just read the registration numbers of passing vehicles

0:30:330:30:35

and that'll alert us to anything that we need to know of -

0:30:350:30:38

stolen cars, uninsured cars.

0:30:380:30:40

Driving without insurance is one of the most common offences

0:30:400:30:43

Darren deals with.

0:30:430:30:44

Not only do these drivers force up premiums for us all,

0:30:460:30:50

but it can be a nightmare getting compensation if you're

0:30:500:30:53

unlucky enough to be in an accident with an uninsured vehicle.

0:30:530:30:57

And here on the A1,

0:30:590:31:01

it's never long before Darren gets an alert about a suspect car.

0:31:010:31:05

The ANPR camera that reads all the numberplates and lets us know

0:31:050:31:08

if there's anything of note - and it's activated telling

0:31:080:31:11

me this car in front has no insurance details.

0:31:110:31:14

Darren follows the car until it's safe to pull the driver over

0:31:150:31:19

into a car park.

0:31:190:31:21

Hello, there. How are you doing? Is this your car, is it?

0:31:220:31:25

How long have you had it?

0:31:250:31:27

-When did we get it? October.

-October.

0:31:270:31:30

Can I see your insurance documents, please?

0:31:300:31:32

Can you see if the black folder's in there?

0:31:320:31:35

-No, babe.

-I had to change a bulb and I took it out.

0:31:360:31:40

-All right, OK. No problem.

-I've got my licence...

0:31:400:31:42

OK, no problem. Switch your car off and come and have a chat with

0:31:420:31:44

me for two seconds and I'll explain to you why I've stopped you.

0:31:440:31:47

Take a seat in the back on that side.

0:31:470:31:49

The reason why I've stopped you is this car's showing as having

0:31:490:31:52

no insurance held for it. There's no insurance on the details.

0:31:520:31:55

You haven't missed any of the payments or anything, have you?

0:31:550:31:58

-Not that I know of.

-Not that you know of.

-I haven't...

0:31:580:32:00

-To be fair, I haven't checked but...

-Right.

0:32:000:32:03

You haven't had any letters or anything from them saying

0:32:030:32:05

it's been cancelled? OK, no problem.

0:32:050:32:07

We'll give them a ring and find out what the craic is.

0:32:070:32:11

But after a quick check on the police national computer,

0:32:110:32:14

Darren has some bad news to deliver.

0:32:140:32:15

I'm going to have to caution you. You don't have to say anything but it may harm your defence

0:32:150:32:19

if you don't mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court.

0:32:190:32:22

Anything you do say may be given in evidence. You're not under arrest, it's just something I've got to

0:32:220:32:26

say to you when I suspect an offence has been committed.

0:32:260:32:29

-The offence that I suspect has been committed is driving with no insurance.

-Right.

0:32:290:32:33

The offence itself carries a fixed penalty of £300.

0:32:340:32:38

But what's worse for the motorist is that Darren cannot allow her

0:32:380:32:42

to continue to drive.

0:32:420:32:43

-The car will be taken from you now. OK?

-Right.

0:32:430:32:46

We'll arrange recovery for the car.

0:32:460:32:48

And she'll have to pay £150 release fee on top of the fine.

0:32:480:32:53

Not what you want two days before Christmas, eh?

0:32:530:32:55

To make matters worse, the car is full of Christmas presents.

0:32:590:33:03

They said that they didn't receive my...

0:33:030:33:06

proof of no claims, which was from when I was driving my mam's car

0:33:060:33:10

and I was insured on that.

0:33:100:33:12

But they were all uploaded.

0:33:120:33:14

But I'd probably have to find the e-mail that I sent, I would think.

0:33:140:33:19

It means that my Christmas shopping is not going to plan,

0:33:190:33:23

because I won't have as much money.

0:33:230:33:26

I'll live.

0:33:260:33:28

There's nothing I can do about it.

0:33:280:33:30

Soon a flatbed truck arrives to pick up the car,

0:33:320:33:35

leaving the driver and her passenger to wait by the roadside for a lift.

0:33:350:33:40

If it gets too cold or it starts getting too late,

0:33:420:33:45

please go to the waiting room. Just wait in there, all right?

0:33:450:33:48

-I'm going to sit in Greggs.

-Excellent.

0:33:480:33:50

-A great place to sort out your insurance, Greggs.

-Aye!

0:33:500:33:52

Get a nice festive bake and a Belgian bun,

0:33:520:33:54

they're the best ones. All right. Watch where you're going. Ta-ra.

0:33:540:33:58

We're not ogres and I know certain traffic cops

0:34:070:34:09

get bad reputations and we're here just to pick on

0:34:090:34:12

the innocent motorists and all that sort of stuff.

0:34:120:34:14

But, no, insurance offences costs people a lot of money.

0:34:140:34:17

And it's a bit of a sickener when you open a car

0:34:170:34:20

when it's full of Christmas presents,

0:34:200:34:21

especially when they're kids' Christmas presents,

0:34:210:34:24

but it's unfortunate.

0:34:240:34:26

There are over 1 million uninsured drivers in Britain,

0:34:300:34:33

so while Darren hates spoiling anyone's Christmas,

0:34:330:34:36

he knows stopping as many offenders as possible

0:34:360:34:39

is good for all other motorists.

0:34:390:34:41

More than 80 miles away near Wetherby,

0:34:450:34:47

some other A1 road users are also falling foul of the law.

0:34:470:34:52

The team from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency

0:34:520:34:55

is continuing their operation to stop and check lorries

0:34:550:34:58

to ensure they're roadworthy.

0:34:580:35:02

Earlier, this wagon was found to have a serious fault

0:35:020:35:05

by enforcement vehicle examiner Steve White.

0:35:050:35:08

The fuel cap is missing and a plastic bag is the only thing

0:35:100:35:13

stopping a lethal spill.

0:35:130:35:16

Driver Sorin has gone to find a replacement cap,

0:35:170:35:20

but with no sign of his return, Steve has to take action.

0:35:200:35:25

We're going to immobilise the vehicle now.

0:35:250:35:27

He's had an hour from issuing the probation notice.

0:35:270:35:31

Obviously, the vehicle's still got the defect on,

0:35:310:35:34

so it gets immobilised.

0:35:340:35:37

And with the front wheel locked, this lorry really is going nowhere.

0:35:390:35:43

Fellow Inspector Paul Berryman is back on the A1 and pulling in

0:35:470:35:51

another truck for inspection.

0:35:510:35:53

Hello, we're just going to do a quick control. Is that OK?

0:35:590:36:03

Steve checks the truck for mechanical faults and gives

0:36:030:36:06

it the all clear.

0:36:060:36:08

But Paul is suspicious about the tachograph

0:36:080:36:10

which records the driver's hours, speed and distance.

0:36:100:36:14

Well, the indication is that there's some sort of interference

0:36:140:36:19

but it's not solid enough to give any, sort of, evidence or proof.

0:36:190:36:25

We would need a bit more to go on.

0:36:260:36:28

The truck has done over 1 million kilometres,

0:36:310:36:33

so Paul would expect to see about 50 small mechanical faults

0:36:330:36:37

recorded in that time.

0:36:370:36:39

Things like a flat battery, but there's nothing.

0:36:400:36:44

That's the first time I've ever come across a printout like that

0:36:440:36:46

with no faults on in ten years.

0:36:460:36:50

I've never seen a printout with no faults on, ever.

0:36:500:36:53

Not even on trucks that are weeks olds.

0:36:530:36:55

There's always faults.

0:36:550:36:57

But this just hasn't any faults whatsoever.

0:36:570:37:00

So either it has been very, very lucky

0:37:000:37:02

and never had a fault or it's never recorded a fault

0:37:020:37:05

or it's been manipulated some way and the faults have been erased.

0:37:050:37:09

Paul suspects a magnet may have been used to tamper with the

0:37:120:37:15

tachograph but the inspectors can't find one.

0:37:150:37:19

So with no physical evidence, all Paul can do is ask the driver.

0:37:190:37:23

I guarantee you he's going to say no.

0:37:230:37:25

Have you been using a magnet?

0:37:290:37:32

A magnet? Switch?

0:37:320:37:35

-Switch? Zapper?

-No.

-No?

0:37:350:37:37

Are you sure?

0:37:370:37:39

-Are you sure?

-Yeah, yeah.

-100%?

-No.

0:37:390:37:42

No magnet? Really?

0:37:420:37:45

OK. It just seems too clean.

0:37:450:37:50

Reluctantly, Paul has to let the lorry go.

0:37:530:37:57

And Romanian driver Sorin is back with a new fuel cap.

0:37:570:38:01

Yeah, that's fine. The gentleman's paid his fee for the immobilisation.

0:38:050:38:09

He's also paid his fixed penalty fee for the defect.

0:38:090:38:13

Once we remove this, the gentleman is on his way.

0:38:130:38:16

-OK.

-OK. Thank you.

0:38:160:38:18

It's been a successful day for the team.

0:38:200:38:23

They've pulled over 11 vehicles, identified four dangerous faults

0:38:230:38:26

and insured these drivers are safe to keep on trucking.

0:38:260:38:31

70 miles away in the historic city of Durham,

0:38:340:38:37

the Fossetts and their camels have arrived

0:38:370:38:39

for the Christmas Nativity procession.

0:38:390:38:42

After a long journey north, Rebecca and Joseph have just

0:38:490:38:52

45 minutes to transform Kazak, Max and Kokoso for the big moment.

0:38:520:38:57

See, we have bells.

0:38:580:39:00

We like to make them look...

0:39:010:39:02

You know, they look the business, don't they?

0:39:020:39:06

This is what makes it more than just camels,

0:39:060:39:09

it's glamour camels, I suppose.

0:39:090:39:12

It's about having a spectacle.

0:39:120:39:14

With the crowds gathering outside, the freshly adorned camels

0:39:160:39:20

are ready just in time for the arrival

0:39:200:39:22

of their masters of the night.

0:39:220:39:24

Kings! Very good!

0:39:240:39:26

But are these royal riders up to the job?

0:39:260:39:29

Oh, I think when I was a child I may have gone on a camel at Bristol Zoo.

0:39:330:39:37

And not really since then!

0:39:370:39:40

Fortunately, Rebecca has some helpful advice on how to

0:39:400:39:43

mount these six-foot beasts.

0:39:430:39:45

Leg up behind, left leg, OK?

0:39:450:39:47

And then one, two...

0:39:470:39:49

OK, bounce, one, two, three and on the third one Brian will... Voomph!

0:39:490:39:53

One, two, three...

0:39:530:39:55

Slightly more tricky than it sounds.

0:39:550:39:58

There's nothing regal about the mount.

0:39:580:40:01

One, two, three. Up you go.

0:40:010:40:03

Leg up now.

0:40:050:40:07

Two, three.

0:40:070:40:09

Well done.

0:40:130:40:16

The Kings may have once come from the east...

0:40:160:40:19

..but tonight, it's the less exotic confines

0:40:200:40:23

of Durham's multistorey car park.

0:40:230:40:26

-But no matter.

-Stand back, please!

0:40:290:40:31

As they wind their way through the city's shopping thoroughfare...

0:40:320:40:36

..they present a pretty arresting sight.

0:40:380:40:40

He snorted down my neck. He blew his nose, basically.

0:40:440:40:48

Their behaviour might not always be majestic...

0:40:500:40:53

..but their arrival is eagerly awaited by the exuberant crowds.

0:40:540:40:58

Really enthusiastic. I mean, a lot of very excited children around.

0:41:060:41:12

I've never seen a camel in my life!

0:41:120:41:14

I've never seen camels walking through

0:41:140:41:16

the streets of Durham before.

0:41:160:41:18

It was quite a nice surprise, but odd in the marketplace!

0:41:180:41:21

Once at the inn, the camels safely deposit their load

0:41:260:41:29

to deliver offerings of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

0:41:290:41:33

And Kazak, Max and Kokoso are free to retire.

0:41:370:41:41

You silly Billy.

0:41:410:41:43

You silly Billy.

0:41:430:41:44

Their starring role over for another year, it's back to the lorry

0:41:470:41:51

for these Three Kings and a well earned rest.

0:41:510:41:54

Oh, I think they'll sleep very well this evening.

0:41:570:42:00

They'll be snoozing on the way back.

0:42:010:42:04

There's just time for a brief show of appreciation...

0:42:040:42:07

Eww, that's not very nice, is it?

0:42:080:42:10

..before they join the A1 southbound

0:42:120:42:14

for their long journey home.

0:42:140:42:16

Everyone involved in the multicar smash made a full recovery.

0:42:280:42:34

The driver of the white van is being investigated for careless driving.

0:42:340:42:38

And lorry driver Sorin made one last trip back to the DVSA...

0:42:400:42:44

He set off and he forgot his documents.

0:42:440:42:47

-..before getting back on the road...

-OK!

0:42:470:42:49

..and completing his A1 journey.

0:42:490:42:51

Next time, the careless drivers putting lives at risk...

0:42:530:42:57

The worst-case scenario is that it's a fatality.

0:42:570:43:01

..officers race to the scene...

0:43:010:43:02

This is high priority.

0:43:020:43:04

..of a treacherous tyre blowout...

0:43:040:43:06

Traffic's just too busy.

0:43:060:43:08

The chances of somebody getting struck on that offside

0:43:080:43:11

is really high.

0:43:110:43:13

..and Santa's reindeer head south.

0:43:130:43:17

You often get this expression of pure delight when people see

0:43:170:43:20

the reindeer for the first time.

0:43:200:43:21

They really are the spirit of Christmas.

0:43:210:43:23

A horrific crash causes rush hour chaos on the Great North Road, traffic inspectors launch a crackdown on distracted lorry drivers, and there is a bumpy mission to deliver a herd of camels to a Christmas nativity.