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A DRIVER had a lucky escape when part of a tree damaged by gale force winds sheared off and came crashing down on his car.

The incident in Bramston Street, Rastrick, happened when a large branch of a tree next to the park fell on to the vehicle at 4.30pm on Monday.

The driver, Robert Stewart, 59, of Foxcroft Drive, Rastrick, described the incident as he was driving in his Volkswagon Bora.

“I was travelling back home from work when I saw the branch coming down but there was nothing I could do before it was too late,” he said. “I was quick enough to open the door and get out. I’ve had a very lucky escape.”

Mr Stewart did not suffer any injuries but there was damage to the car bonnet, roof and door, as well as a smashed windscreen.

Brighouse and Elland fire crews were called to the scene and to secure the area.

The incident caused major disruption to the work time traffic as police diverted motorists up Bridge End and Thornhill Road.

Richard Robertshaw, of the Calderdale Council’s Countryside and Forestry Unit, said part of the tree broke off due to the previous day’s bad weather. As a result, the council has had no alternative but to take the rest of the tree down.

“People should look in particular for any decay, movement at the base of the tree or splitting of branches. If they are concerned about the condition and safety of any trees they should contact the Council on 0845 245 6000 and we would be happy to help.”