Rugby fans are being asked to use official car parks at the AJ Bell Stadium in Salford after the police and air ambulance helicopter bases were blocked in.

Images taken from the air show cars filling a small layby off the A57 – making it impossible for emergency vehicles to get into the City Heliport.

If emergency vehicles cannot get to the site the police and air ambulance helicopters, which are used across the whole northwest and beyond, are not allowed to take off.

Now Salford City Council is asking motorists only to park in the marked bays along the left hand side of the layby and warning that anyone who parks anywhere else in the layby risks being given a penalty charge notice of £70.

The next match at the stadium is on Friday July 13 and the stadium, Salford Reds and Sale Sharks are already alerting fans via social media.

Councillor David Lancaster, lead member for environment and community safety, said: “When just a few cars parked in the bays in the layby, there wasn’t a problem. That left plenty of space for emergency vehicles to get through.

“Unfortunately drivers have started parking on both sides and down the central reservation in the layby. They perhaps don’t realise that the City Heliport is there which includes both the police helicopter and air ambulance bases and that they are stopping their vital work by blocking the route.

“We have to call time on this for safety reasons. We don’t want to issue tickets to anyone but there is no need to block the layby as there are hundreds of parking spaces at the stadium itself or people can use public transport to reach the games.”

Dave Kibblewhite, Base Manager for the National Police Air Service said; “The photo taken by our helicopter clearly shows the scale of the problem.

“We are called to incidents all over the north west and often beyond. Police forces across the UK call on the National Police Air Service to help them to find suspects and vulnerable missing people or to support them with other tasks, such as the recent fires at Saddleworth Moor and Winter Hill.

“We need to ensure that in the case of an emergency, that support could reach us at the City Heliport. With the layby blocked, this isn’t possible. Without that safeguard in place, we can’t take off, and that means that lives may be put at risk and that people may be put in danger unnecessarily.”


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