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March 28, 2005
Two cars towed away as lifeboat access is blocked again

A car being moved onto a tow truck outside Burnham RNLI station on Monday March 28th

Burnham-On-Sea RNLI has carried out its threat of getting vehicles towed away if they prevent the town's lifeboats from launching.

Two cars were removed from outside the station on Easter Monday, March 28th, after parking directly opposite the gates to the station.

The owners of a blue Peugeot 206 and a Renault Laguna each received fines of more than £330 after their vehicles were initially clamped before later being moved onto a tow truck by Weston-based clamping company, Premier Parking.

One car is clamped and another is lifted onto a tow truck outside the Burnham RNLI stationStation personnel have tried gentle reminders, and talking to drivers, but with limited success. Now, drivers are risking having to pay £85 plus VAT to release a clamp, and £285 plus VAT if they are towed away.

Martin Cox, Burnham Lifeboat Operations Manager, said: "24 hour access is essential for our crew members who may need to get into the station at a moment's notice to launch the lifeboats."

He added: "People do not realise that the combined size of the tractor and lifeboat trailer is 48 feet long, and 11 feet wide, and that they need a clear road to safely leave the compound."

Signs in the street outside the RNLI station clearly warn vehicle owners that they risk fines, clamping and even being towed away if they park on the double yellow lines - but motorists are ignoring the warnings.

The combined size of the tractor and lifeboat trailer is 48 feet long, and 11 feet wide, which is as long, if not longer, than some articulated lorries. Because of this, each launch is escorted by trained shore crew, to ensure safety, both to the boats, and to members of the public.

A representative from Premier Parking added: "Both local and non local drivers parking opposite the lifeboat station are causing an obstruction, and therefore risk being clamped."

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