Britain faced a fifth day of snow on Friday after a dramatic overnight rescue-operation saved 200 stranded motorists in Devon.

The Highways agency said Friday morning that the two main roads between England and South Wales were closed for safety although motorways and major roads in other parts of England were operating normally.

Devon received almost a foot of snowfall and the police were joined by army to reach the trapped motorists, who were taken to shelters near Exter and in Okehampton.

All flight departures and arrivals at London Luton Airport were suspended until 1300 GMT and some flights were cancelled.

Heathrow airport is open but has warned passengers of some delays. First Great western, the train operator, reported weather-related problems at Reading, between Cheltenham Spa and London Paddington, and several other routes.

Bus services were suspended across Bristol, South Gloucestershire, Bath and North Somerset.

More than 800 schools in Western England were closed on Friday as staff and pupils struggled to get through the snow after around four to five inches fell in an hour.

The Met had forecast heavy spells of snow over the west and east Midlands and parts of Scotland, south Wales and the south of England.

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