Police stop hearse on way to funeral
POLICE have been criticised after the driver of funeral-bound hearse was pulled over by traffic officers and slapped with a �60 penalty ticket.
Traffic officers gave the driver of the car, which was carrying the coffin of a grandmother, the ticket for not wearing a seatbelt near Great Wilbraham, Cambridgeshire, it has been reported.
But mother-of-five Gail Hardy, from Newmarket, told a newspaper she was shocked to witness the incident and said the police should not have interrupted the sombre trip.
She claimed it would have been better to have noted down the vehicle’s details, so any offences could be dealt with later in the day.
But the officer who issued the penalty defended his action, saying motorists in hearses were “just as likely to be involved in a collision as anyone else”.
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Mrs Hardy was on her way to Cambridge for a shopping trip with her husband and teenage son when she saw police stop the funeral directors – and was so angered that she almost interrupted her trip to remonstrate with officers.
Mrs Hardy, of Wilfred Sherman Close, Newmarket, said: “That was somebody’s mother and grandmother – it’s disgusting.
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“It was on its way to a funeral so the family were probably waiting somewhere, I couldn’t believe it.”
The hearse was stopped at around 3.25pm on Thursday on Mill Road, which leads from the A11 to Great Wilbraham.
Pc Steve Gedny, of Cambridgeshire police, has defended his actions.
He said: “We noticed the driver and passenger of the hearse were not wearing seatbelts.
“We drove past them in a marked police car and parked in the lay-by ahead, hoping they would realise and put their seatbelts on, but they didn’t.
“After checking there were no family cars following the hearse, we pulled the driver over and found out they had driven from South Wales.
“We wouldn’t normally ignore road users not wearing seatbelts as we take road safety very seriously.”
The passenger had put a seatbelt on by the time the hearse was pulled over, so was not given a ticket.
Pc Gedny added: “Drivers and passengers of hearses are just as likely to be involved in a collision as anyone else. Not only is it illegal to not wear a seatbelt, it is proved to reduce injuries in such an event.”