Kent

Parking fine for coastguard on 999 emergency in Kent

Coastguard vehicle
Image caption Colin Ingram's vehicle was clearly marked when he used the car park

A coastguard called to an emergency after reports of a suspected suicide in Kent has been given a parking ticket.

Colin Ingram's yellow and blue vehicle, marked with HM Coastguard and a blue light bar, was given the fine after parking in Staples car park in Chatham.

It was the second time his vehicle had been issued with a ticket at the site.

A spokesman for G24 Parking Solutions, which issued the ticket, said there was no one available to comment when approached by the BBC on Tuesday.

Mr Ingram, sector manager for north Kent, said he was "furious" and the coastguard agency could not afford such penalties.

He told BBC Radio Kent he had parked in the car park on 10 May because it was the nearest one to the river front at Sun Pier, where the suspected suicide had been reported.

"It's also the nearest place where if we've got to get our rescue equipment out of the vehicles, we can."

Mr Ingram said he received the car parking fine last Thursday, with the reason given being that he had spent 115 minutes in the car park.

"I was totally devastated. It's one of those things you don't expect to get.

"The manager of Staples has been absolutely fantastic - he's written to the parking company and now managed to get the parking fine quashed, but it was for £95.

"£95 to come out of our coastguard budget, which is money that really needs to be kept there for rescuing people."

Mr Ingram added that emergency vehicles were covered by the Emergency Services Act 2004 and the Coastguard Act 1925 as to where they could park and "to execute a rescue from wherever".

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