An elderly man has been facing fines after painting a fake pedestrian crossing, along with speed signs, on the road in front of his home.
As 78-year-old Laurie Phillips from Christchurch, England, explained, he decided to take things into his own hands after repeatedly asking the local council to install a zebra crossing in front of his home to allow residents with disabilities to safely cross the street that can sometimes get very busy.
Following alleged inaction from the officials’ side, the senior man, who has been struggling to cross the road with his disabled wife, rolled up his sleeves and painted a pedestrian crossing on his own one early morning. He also complemented his design with fake speed signs and markings resembling speed bumps.
After the authorities realized what had happened, Mr. Phillips was summoned to the local police station and accused of criminal damage. Once the man was issued a $180 fine, the authorities also proceeded to remove all of the freshly painted markings including the pedestrian crossing.
Calling the investigation into his actions an “unnecessary waste of police time,” Laurie said all he cared about was getting the officials to come up with a safe solution for crossing the busy road.
“After lockdown was lifted last summer we were swamped with visitors and 5,000 cars were passing through each day,” the 78-year-old insisted.
“I communicated with local Mudeford councilors and Vikki Slade, who was head of the council at the time, as well as the officers who are responsible for line painting.
“I gave clear warning that I would paint it if nothing was done. At no time did I have any response tell me I wasn’t to do it or should not do it.
“I personally paid over £100 for materials and three of us took two hours each to paint it. One might think a contribution to the wellbeing of those I live near and all the visitors who come here would be welcomed by a cash strapped council?”
The senior man went on to claim that the council is obliged to “make reasonable adjustments for an individual who is at a substantial disadvantage at that time due to their disability” under the equality act.
“In my view, this prosecution, which is only now coming to a resolution, has been a complete waste of valuable police time, as well as causing unnecessary stress through many delays in the process to me and my wife aged 78 and 76 respectively,” he added.
“I could have fought it in the courts but it’s not worth the hassle.All I care about is getting a permanent crossing installed there to improve safety. ”
After the story went viral, the local council insisted they would review the formal request for a pedestrian crossing they had received to decide whether or not the idea is viable.
“The situation regarding the illegal markings has been addressed and we can confirm that we have received a formal request for a crossing to be placed at this Mudeford Quay location,” a BCP Council spokesperson confirmed.
“As with other requests for crossings we receive, we will carefully assess the request to establish whether it is appropriate to create a formal or informal crossing at this location. Safety remains, as ever, our primary concern.”
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