'Jobsworth' traffic warden hands RNLI £100 parking fine while volunteers were saving lives at sea

'Jobsworth' traffic warden hands RNLI £100 parking fine while volunteers were saving lives at sea

Watch: RNLI members ‘disenchanted’ as lifeboats become a ‘taxi service for migrants’

GB News
James Saunders

By James Saunders

Published: 10/04/2024

- 22:57

Locals said penalising crew members risking their lives was 'absolutely disgusting' before the council scrambled to cancel the charges

A council has been slammed as "immoral" and "disgusting" after emerged a traffic warden had issued parking fines to lifeboat volunteers as they dealt with an emergency at sea.

Four RNLI volunteers had parked up near a lifeboat station in Weymouth, Dorset, in order to save time as they rushed to rescue three people out in the water.

The team, in a number of different vehicles, were all displaying valid parking permits - as well as window stickers showing their RNLI crew member status - but council officials slapped them with £100 fines regardless.

The volunteers went on to spend four hours on the water responding to a 999 call made by a trio of paddle-boarders in trouble in nearby Portland Harbour.


The RNLI volunteers returned from an emergency call to discover that a "jobsworth" warden had affixed PCNs to their cars


But the quartet returned to the station to find their four cars were all sporting yellow Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) on their windscreens.

The traffic warden who issued the PCNs claimed the RNLI stickers and the council-issued permits may have been fake when challenged on the decision, an eyewitness said.

One of the crew members, Leon Weaver, sarcastically thanked Dorset Council for the decision to issue the four vehicles with tickets while they were on the emergency call - despite their permits being visible.

Weaver said the warden stated "anyone could have printed" the stickers and claimed they took a "not my problem" approach to handing out PCNs - which he would have had to appeal if Dorset Council had not acted swiftly to cancel the fines.


Weymouth Beach

The RNLI volunteers had parked in Weymouth, Dorset while they scrambled to the aid of some paddle-boarders in trouble


A Weymouth RNLI spokesperson, Nick Critchell, said: "Parking in the town is always difficult especially in the holiday season, but we do have parking permits for on-street parking for the guys to park on the streets in that area.

"We always display the RNLI crew on-a-shout stickers as well as the permit just in case one doesn't get seen.

"As far as I am aware the cars were parked where they should have been while they dealt with a potential catastrophe at sea. They weren't on yellow lines or in and disabled bays. This was an emergency and they parked as close to the station as they could.

"Our aim is to launch the lifeboat within 10 minutes of being asked to by the coastguard. If we have to park further away then that is going to cause more delay with cold costs lives.'

Dorset County Hall

Dorset Council said it cancelled the tickets as soon as the mistake was brought to its attention


Locals took to social media to voice their displeasure after images of the PCNs were shared online; one accused the council of being "immoral" and "money-grabbing" for apparently attempting to charge the crew twice - firstly, for the permit itself, and secondly, by not recognising it.

Others said penalising crew members risking their lives was "absolutely disgusting" and called the traffic warden a "jobsworth" - while one jabbed that they hoped the council official would not have to rely on the RNLI themself.

A Dorset Council spokesperson said: "We are sorry for any distress or confusion this has caused. This was an unfortunate error, and we cancelled the tickets as soon as the mistake was brought to our attention.

"We are contacting the RNLI to apologise, and will remind our team about the agreement with the RNLI so this does not happen again."

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