North Yorkshire Police has apologised for ordering stranded motorists’ cars to be towed away which left them facing a £150 charge.
The force said all drivers who have been charged the fee will get a full refund.
Motorists caught in yesterday’s flooding had earlier spoken of their anger after being charged £150 to have their cars towed away.
Police sent a recovery vehicle to tow away numerous vehicles which had been left by the side of the road in the Leyburn area due to yesterday’s flooding.
Many of the vehicles had been abandoned but had not suffered flood damage.
Leah Jackson, 31, and baby Caspar went for a day out with and friend and her small child to Brymor at Jervaulx.
Due to the flooding they could not get home and were stuck between Leyburn and Bellerby.
Leah said: “After hours of waiting for the roads to clear, the torrential rain continued and we realised that unless we wanted to spend the night in the car with no supplies for the babies we’d have to leave it there.
“I pulled over onto a grass verge, and a friendly man who was on a camping holiday left his wife and kids on the side of the road to drive us in his huge 4×4 and the babies through the river like road to Bellerby.”
However, when they got to Bellerby they found the village was also flooded.
Leah added: “A lovely couple let us in their home for a cup of tea, then a heroic man took us in a tractor through the village so we could get home to Richmond.
“We weren’t sure if the roads would be clear again or not but the next morning at 9am me and my friend went back to retrieve my car, to find all the stranded vehicles on the side of the road were already being towed away.
“We followed it back to Lowes break down recovery compound and were overjoyed to be charged £150 to get my car back.
“They apologetically explained that it was under the instruction of North Yorkshire Police that morning to just take everything away.”
Lead continued: “What were we supposed to do in that situation?
“There was no where to park my ca, as the lay-by close to us was already full of cars.
“I was pulled right up onto the grass verge so I wasn’t blocking the road, we were completely stuck between two flooded roads which had broken down vehicles floating in it.
“We had two screaming babies in the car with no food/drink for them, and we went back first thing the next morning to get the car?
“Thanks to all the lovely members of the public which helped us to get home – North Yorkshire Police you are a joke.”
Tom and Petra Willoughby, from Redmire, have also been charged £150 after Petra was stranded between Bellerby and Leyburn.
Tom, 37, a farmer, said: “Due to the floods and rising water she left her car with multiple other cars on the side of the road.
“I managed only just to rescue Petra with the pickup. We then went back at 9.30pm to see if we could retrieve her car but the water level hadn’t lowered.
“When she went this morning at 8am to get her car it had been loaded on a recovery wagon n taken into compound.
“We’ve had £150 to pay to retrieve the car. We could have done without it in the summer holidays.
“All the police would have had to do was let us know the road was back open again and we’d have gone and got it.
“Lowes were very apologetic and said the police had just told them to move them all.”
A North Yorkshire Police spokesperson said: “The weather we’ve just experienced in North Yorkshire has been exceptional. Areas of our region were deluged by rain in a very short space of time, leading to flooded roads and road closures. Some vehicle owners had to abandon their vehicles due to the extreme weather conditions.
“As flood waters receded to a safer level, we took steps to recover the vehicles that were blocking the roads, so that traffic was able to pass freely and safely.
“Those vehicle owners are now in a position to collect their vehicle from the recovery company, and we want to make it clear that there will be absolutely no charge for this collection. The cost of recovery will be covered by North Yorkshire Police.
“Due to our heavy workload today it took us a little while to put these arrangements in place with the recovery company, and there are one or two people who have already collected their vehicles and paid a fee. We’d like to give our sincere apologies to these people for the inconvenience, and reassure them that if they contact the recovery company they will receive a full immediate reimbursement of the fee.
“More rain is forecast over the next few days, so our officers will be out as usual, doing everything we can to keep people safe. We would urge people to keep a close eye on www.northyorks.gov.uk/roadworks-road-closures-and-diversions for news about flash flooding and road closures, and take extra care when travelling over the next few days.”