HGV drivers using shortcuts on country lanes in villages around Warminster could face prosecution for not following designated diversion routes during the closure of the A303.

The Highways Agency closed part of the A303 for five weeks on February 15 and started work to repair, widen and strengthen the road.

Some HGV drivers have been ignoring clear weight restriction signs and using minor roads to avoid the diversion route.

Wiltshire Council has already had to close a stretch of a minor road running from Monkton Deverill to Pertwood to prevent further serious damage to its verges.

Inspector Dave Minty, of Warminster and Westbury police, has warned HGV drivers that they will be prosecuted if caught going down minor roads with weight restrictions.

He said: “A number of people are using the Deverill Road as a cut through in particularly HGV articulated lorries.

“There is a seven and a half tonne limit in place but this seems to be ignored.

“Our road policing unit at headquarters are looking into this as a priority.

“It’s completely unacceptable for HGVs to go down there. They are causing damage to the verges and creating traffic when the are on either side of the road.

“We are treating this matter extremely seriously and neighbourhood policing teams will also be on patrol.”

Inspector Nick Elton, operations manager for the Wiltshire Police road policing unit, said officers in marked and unmarked cars would be patrolling the area and taking enforcement action against any drivers breaking the law.

Cllr Dick Tonge, cabinet member with responsibility for highways, said the Highways Agency would have to pay for any repairs to verges damaged during the roadworks and said they council would continue to press the Government to take action on Satnavs, which are directing heay vehicles along inappropriate roads.