A WOMAN and child were rescued from a car when it became stuck in a notoriously dangerous ford – despite barriers blocking the road.

Eighteen firefighters from Basingstoke, Kingsclere and Newbury were called at around 7.45pm on Monday and worked to free the pair, who became stuck in the water after attempting to cross Headley Ford. Neither was injured.

The ford claimed the life of Jonathan Gammon who died after the car his wife, Priscilla Turner, was driving, was swept 200 yards downstream by the River Enborne in April 2012.

Hampshire County Council and West Berkshire Council jointly agreed to close Headley Ford in December.

Road closure signs have been in place and plastic barriers installed on both sides along with depth gauges.

But farmer Simon Hiscock believes the female motorist would have approached the river from the other side where there is now no obstruction.

He said: “People are removing them (to drive across) and not putting them back. They’re throwing them in the hedge.”

He added that villagers know the dangers and do not cross the ford, but said that those unfamiliar with the area are guided to the ford by their sat navs.

Mr Hiscock believes that those who get stuck should be forced to pay to have their car rescued.

He said: “If people are so stupid that they believe their cars are going to cross that they should be charged. There’s six inches of water, it’s too much for the modern car. There’s a depth marker. That marker shows the water is three feet deep.

“If they have to be rescued by the fire and rescue service they should be charged. It’s a huge waste of limited resources. It’s stupidity.”

However, Mr Hiscock, from Common Road, Headley, confessed to crossing it a few weeks ago because of a problem with his tractor, and believes it should be open to agricultural vehicles.

He said: “I will admit to going through there about two weeks ago. Rather than risk the wheel falling off the axle and onto a car I told my son (who was driving the tractor) we would cross the ford.

“I said to him I know we’re not supposed to but we’re going down through the ford. It was an emergency. This is the exact reason why we need to allow tractors and agricultural vehicles to cross.”

He added: “We object to most people getting out and moving the barriers but we don’t want the road closed. We all know about the ford.

“It’s down to motorists being sensible.”

In a statement released yesterday, West Berkshire Council said: “We have inspected the ford at Headley this morning and all signage is in place. There is traffic enforcement in place closing the road to all but a restricted number of local residents for access only. Drivers who ignore these signs do so at their own risk.”