Parish council works to make village ford safer after vandals cut barrier locks

PUBLISHED: 16:25 20 March 2017 | UPDATED: 16:25 20 March 2017

Vandals who endanger lifes by cutting locks off of gates at Hail Weston Ford are

Vandals who endanger lifes by cutting locks off of gates at Hail Weston Ford are "irresponsible and dangerous" says county council

Archant

Hail Weston Parish Council is in talks to resolve problems with the ford in the village after “irresponsible and dangerous” vandals cut safety locks on its gates.

Vandals who endanger lifes by cutting locks off of gates at Hail Weston Ford are Vandals who endanger lifes by cutting locks off of gates at Hail Weston Ford are "irresponsible and dangerous" says county council

The ford is shut when the River Kym becomes too high or fast-flowing but on a number of occasions the locked gate, to stop cars from continuing along the stretch of road, has been reopened.

The gates are locked by the Highway Authority but, according to the council, have been cut off by thieves later.

Councillor Tony Baker said: “We are working with Cambridgeshire County Highways to resolve the issue of the barrier and signage not being in synch.

“This has improved however it is true that the locks on the barriers have been cut on more than one occasion leading to confusion.”

However, in his opinion as a resident Cllr Baker has urged for the council

to erect flashing road closer signs, similar to that in Little Paxton, to stop the Highways Agency from having to close the gates.

“I think something has to be done, I think the cost of the sign is an investment that would save highways having to come out and continually repair padlocks because selfish people have cut them off,” Mr Baker said.

According to Mr Baker it is likely the signs could be connected to sensors that already alert the council.

The work comes after The Hunts Post published earlier this year that a family had to be rescued by 75-year-old Pamela Wilkie after becoming stuck.

The driver and her two children drove into the flooded ford as the gates were open despite workers from the county authority locking the gates the evening before.

“It was incredibly irresponsible and dangerous for whoever cut the lock on the gates which is there to stop people from entering the water when the levels are high,” a Cambridgeshire County Council spokesman said.

“We would suggest that if anyone knows who carried this out then they should tell the police. A new stronger lock and chain is now being used.”

According to the spokesman the lock that was previously on the gate was of “heavy-duty” and it meant that the thieves had to use tools to be able to break it off.

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