Police tow away vehicle that got in the way - prompting ambulance to hit scaffolding and causing town centre to be sealed off
- Credit: Archant
The centre of Wisbech was blocked off on Saturday after an ambulance answering a 999 call clipped protruding scaffold.
A police spokesman said they were called to a report of a collision between an ambulance and high scaffolding on a four storey building.
“Ambulance staff were responding to an emergency call when the collision occurred,” said the spokesman.
“Officers worked with fire and ambulance at the scene in Wisbech town centre to ensure that the surrounding buildings and marketplace were safely evacuated and no one was hurt.”
The spokesman said: “A vehicle which had been parked illegally in Union Street was removed from the location by police.
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“We would like to remind the public about the importance of ensuring that they do not obstruct roads as this may hinder the work of the emergency services.”
The spokesman said: “We would like to thank stall holders, shop owners, residents and shoppers for being so patient whilst they ensured that the building and scaffolding had been made safe.”
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Much of the town centre remained sealed off for a large part of the day and many shops were hit by lack of trade.
One shopper said: “It seems many traders have been affected – and some shops closed early.
“They are waiting for health and safety officials to arrive – but why the need to block off such a wide area?”
Former town mayor Jonathan Farmer said the ambulance hit the scaffolding surrounding the Norwich and Peterborough Building Society.
He said: “This was due to the ambulance having to pass illegally parked vehicles which were there because of the consistent failure by the police to enforce parking in High Street.”
Mr Farmer said: “The police then cordon off half the market place on market day and the side streets to an excessive distance (more than three times the distance someone could throw a scaffolding pole form the top of the scaffolding).”
He claimed a scaffolding expert had visited the scene and deemed it safe “yet the police officer in charge of this buffoonery ignores his advice and call for the health and safety executive to be called in.”
Mr Farmer- whose wife is Susanah is deputy town clerk – said the market place remained closed off “because a police sergeant is unable to make a decision.
“Many of the problems of Cambridgeshire Police stem from an unwillingness of junior ranks to make a decision if the only consequence of not making a decision is inconveniencing the public.
“The lack of moral fibre shown by this individual eats away at the public confidence in the police and makes them appear to be fools.”
The police spokesman said a fixed penalty noticed had been issued to the driver of the car that forced the ambulance driver to hit the scaffold.
Holiday With Us Group apologised via Twitter to their customers saying their Wisbech store remained closed due to the accident.