DORSET County Council dealt with a staggering 749 highways complaints in just SEVEN days, it has emerged.

Among the raft of problems facing engineers in the single week were 224 reported potholes and 143 blocked gullies.

These numbers, which have put the state of the county’s roads under the spotlight, surfaced after van driver Terry Walker’s concerns when county hall refused to reimburse him after he buckling two wheels in a large pothole on Holt Road, near Wimborne, around the same time.

Martin Hill, network operations manager for the county council, said: “In 2016/17 we had 21,000 highway enquiries and repaired 22,500 defects. Around 60 per cent of the repairs were to the carriageway, such as potholes and patches.

“We spend around £1.5 million a year on planned carriageway patching repairs, from potholes to larger patches, and about £2.5 million on the other day-to-day maintenance works.This does not include the larger resurfacing works and other schemes.”

Bournemouth Borough Council repairs in excess of 1,000 potholes a year.

The borough’s environment head, Larry Austin, said: “All Bournemouth roads are inspected as part of our highway inspection programme, and repairs taken on a priority basis.

“The council’s highways budget is used for planned maintenance including improvement schemes, resurfacing and road safety initiatives - and reactive maintenance such as repairs to kerbs, paving, street furniture and potholes.”

Heavy rain and sub zero temperatures throughout January, meant that the week ending February 5 saw engineering issues on the county council’s roads rocket to the 749 mark.

But the period was far from typical, a DCC spokesman explained. Average highway complaints in the county council area number around 400 a week.

In the three weeks leading up to February 5 some 96.25mm of rain fell at Bournemouth Airport, and for 13 days during the same period air temperatures dropped to below freezing.

A DCC spokesman said: “These conditions can lead to exacerbation of highway problems such as potholes - which are formed when water gets into cracks in the road surface and freezes - and results in a higher number of enquiries than normal.”

Among the long list of issues facing engineers in the week in question were two damaged bus shelters, six damaged bollards, three damaged pavements, 33 overgrown hedges, nine incidents of flooding, five loose kerbs, two landslides, an emergency oil spillage, one damaged bridge and one dead animal.