Sacked lollipop man ‘needs replacing urgently’

The crossing is situated at the back of William Austin Junior School, on St Ethelbert Avenue, Luton
The crossing is situated at the back of William Austin Junior School, on St Ethelbert Avenue, Luton

A replacement for a crossing guard who was sacked for impeding a fire engine is ‘urgently needed’, according to petitioners.

In May our sister paper the Luton News revealed that a crossing guard posted outside William Austin Junior School had been dismissed by Luton Borough Council after being spotted moving children into the path of an on-call fire engine ‘several times’.

At the time the fire crew were on their way to a tree blaze just a few doors down from the crossing on St Ethelbert Avenue, Luton, and several firefighters eventually had to forcibly remove the lollipop man from the road.

Following an investigation the crossing guard was sacked for gross misconduct.

Now, six weeks on, his vacancy has not yet been filled and 104 parents and residents have signed a petition to have the matter addressed.

The petition states: “(We)need urgently a crossing patrol person at St Ethelbert Avenue outside William Austin Junior School to keep our children safe from dangerous traffic.”

St Ethelbert Avenue resident Jacqui Brittain, who herself was a crossing guard for 20 years, told the Herald & Post: “It is a very dangerous crossing there as people park on the double yellow lines all the way down.

“I understand they need to do interviews and background checks but it has taken a long time.”

According to a council report the crossing is not currently being covered as there are no standby guards available.

The report adds that the following the dismissal last month a council officer visited the site to count the amount of passing vehicles and unaccompanied children.

It was concluded that a crossing guard is still required on St Ethelbert Avenue and the council has advertised to fill the post.