RNLI lifeboat crew 'attacked' after confronting driver who parked on slipway

24 July 2020, 19:50

St Ives Lifeboat condemned the 'shocking' incident
St Ives Lifeboat condemned the 'shocking' incident. Picture: St Ives Lifeboat

By Ewan Somerville

A driver has been arrested after an RNLI crew were reportedly attacked in an “appalling and shocking” parking row on a Cornwall slipway. 

Two members of the St Ives lifeboat crew were allegedly physically assaulted after asking a man to move his vehicle from a crew bay at around 11.30pm on Thursday night. 

The parking spaces are used by volunteers who often rush from their workplaces for emergency call-outs to assist those in trouble at sea. 

Police confirmed a 45-year-old man had been arrested on suspicion of assault and remains in police custody. 

St Ives Lifeboat station condemned the “completely unacceptable” incident.

READ MORE: RNLI chief calls for beach ban amid 'impossible' situation for lifeguards

READ MORE: RNLI lifeboat nearly capsizes after call-out during Storm Ciara

Crews at St Ives launch at a moment's notice to help those in trouble at sea
Crews at St Ives launch at a moment's notice to help those in trouble at sea. Picture: PA

Crews said they had been “consistently” having to ask people to move from the slipway recently. The seaside town is a hotspot for tourists, 80,000 of whom were expected to descend on the county earlier this month.  

“Recently we have been consistently requesting individuals not to park on the slipway, and to please move their vehicles,” crew members said in a Facebook post, shared 11,000 times. 

“Such an incident occurred once again yesterday evening, and when one of our shore crew volunteers and the son of one of our senior crew members requested an owner of a vehicle that had once again parked in the crew spaces, to please move that vehicle - they were both physically assaulted. 

“Every one of us at the station is appalled and shocked that this has happened. 

“This is completely unacceptable in every way, our crew continue to provide a voluntary lifesaving service to the public in very busy, challenging and difficult conditions particularly right now, and should be able to do so without concerns to their physical safety.”

A spokesperson for Devon and Cornwall Police said: “Officers were notified to reports of a common assault which happened on Wharf Road in St Ives on Thursday, July 23 at around 11.30pm.

“A 45-year-old man from Plymouth has been arrested on suspicion of assault and is in police custody.”