A HUGE spillage of instant mashed potato blocked the A64 in North Yorkshire and caused traffic chaos.

A lorry carrying liquid mash shed its load near Whitewell on the Hill, near Malton, at about 3.30pm on Saturday, causing unsafe driving conditions.

A police spokeswoman said: "Instant mash is covering the road and cars have skidded as a result of the mash swelling up."

Wayne Dukes, who was travelling with his family in a car just ahead of the lorry when the incident occurred, said: "It just came over the blind crest of the road and had to hit the brakes as we were all stopped as there was a tractor on the road about a mile in front going very slowly.

"The wagon looked like a Warcup articulated wagon with a bulker trailer on, normally used for corn or wheat. It must have been converted for a thick liquid but when he braked hard the mash went forward and over the front of the trailer on to the tractor unit. I had a baby in the car so I was happy I wasn't nearer."

Police and the Highways Agency closed the road in both directions and North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service were called to the scene to help clear the spillage from the road.

The Fire Service used freezing chemicals on the remaining mash, after it had been ploughed, to make it easier to clear from the road, and managed to open one lane of the road by about 7.30pm, allowing huge queues of traffic from the direction of Scarborough to pass.

Fire crews then used high-powered hoses on the remnants of the spillage, and the road was fully reopened by about 9.30pm, but police said "extreme tailbacks" meant there were still heavy delays for motorists stuck in the queues.