POLICE are cracking down on drivers who leave their cars outside Leighton Hospital in Crewe because they want to avoid parking charges.
They say thoughtless parking is causing problems for ambulances and creating a danger to patients and other visitors.
Police Community Support Officer Sarah Allibone has started to issue fixed penalty tickets to drivers who park along narrow Smithy Lane.
She said: “At times the road is so badly obstructed that ambulances on blue light calls to A & E have problems getting past.
“We had one incident recently where an ambulance was delayed while we carried out a vehicle registration check to discover who owned a car which was blocking the way. Then we had to trace him in the hospital so that we could ask him to move his vehicle.
“We managed to do that, and I issued him with a fixed penalty ticket as well. A little bit of thought when he parked would have told him that he was potentially causing a serious problem. Delays to ambulances can endanger the lives of some patients.
“Some drivers are choosing not to park in the road but pull their vehicles on to the grass verge, presumably with some sort of idea that they aren’t infringing the parking regulations. The result is that they block the pavement instead of the road.
“I had to stop traffic coming along Smithy Lane so that a woman in a wheelchair could use the road to reach the hospital entrance. She had no chance of getting past the six cars which were parked on the pavement.”
Cars displaying disabled driver badges are among those causing the problems, and their drivers are getting fixed penalty notices, too.
“While a disabled badge allows people to park where others cannot, it doesn’t give you the right to cause an obstruction, and that’s what these cars are doing,” added Sarah.
“Presumably most of these people are using the highway because they want to avoid paying for a parking space in the hospital grounds. In fact, they may end up having to pay a lot more. The problems they are causing just aren’t acceptable.”
Hospital trust chief executive Phil Morley said: “We offer a number of conveniently located blue badge spaces.
“If patients or visitors are struggling to park their car, they should speak to one of our security officers through the intercom system at each entry barrier.”