CARS left overnight on any part of the Tour de France route will be towed away, highway bosses have warned.

With just two weeks to go before the Grand Depart, North Yorkshire County has warned people against leaving vehicles on any part of either of the two stages of the race from 7pm the day before.

Any cars or vehicles left on the route - which includes Otley Road, Grassington Road, and High Street, Skipton - as well as several Craven villages - will be forcibly removed and taken away to the nearest available space away from the route.

A notice will be left nearby instructing the owner where their vehicle has been left, and how they can get it back.

A week before Grand Depart weekend, on Saturday June 28, and June 29, flyers will also be left on any car parked along the route telling people they are responsible for finding an alternative parking place.

Similar warnings have already been delivered to homes and businesses along the route.

A council spokesman said it was 'absolutely essential' to the safety of Tour competitors that all cars were removed from the route.

"The council is carrying out an intense publicity drive warning car owners they are responsible for making sure their cars are not parked on the route."

The restrictions will remain in place until the around 200 cyclists and following vehicles have passed and the roads are re-opened.

"Any car left on the route will be removed to a nearby place where it no longer presents an obstruction to the race or an impediment to crowd or traffic movement. This could be a nearby field, car park, lay-by - wherever is available and appropriate."

Removal of cars will be carried out by council contractors, and residents will not be charged for the removal of their vehicles.

Cllr Gareth Dadd, North Yorkshire's executive member for highways, said: "We are hoping with this kind of saturation publicity, people will have got the message loud and clear and will be under no illusion.

"Cars left on the race route will be removed. It may seem like a draconian measure, but we cannot compromise safety."

Stage one of the race, will go from Leeds to Harrogate on Saturday, July 5 - a distance of 118 miles, taking in Draughton, Skipton, Rylstone, Cracoe, Kilnsey, Kettlewell, Starbotton, Buckden and Cray.

On Sunday, July 6, it will go 125 miles from York to Sheffield, taking in Addingham and Silsden.

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