March 11 2014 Latest news:
Sam Blewett, Reporter
Thursday, December 26, 2013
A 16-year-old boy says a passer-by with an angle grinder had to help him after he had been locked in Lodge Farm Park after dark by wardens. A warden is alleged to have said he was “lucky” not to get a £75 fine.
But Havering Council denied anyone was locked in the Romford park, and said there was no damage to the lock the next day.
Luke Moss, of Carlisle Road, took his German shepherd for a walk at 5.45pm on Friday, December 13 when the park was still open. After 20 minutes a warden hooted at him so, he said, he walked to the gate.
But when he reached the gate it was locked, and so were the others, he said. He was unable to climb over with his large dog.
Luke had run out of credit on his mobile so was unable to contact anybody. He received a call from a friend who he told to contact his mother, Lorraine.
She said: “I rang him immediately. I thought: ‘Oh my God. I can’t believe they’ve done that’.”
She called the council’s emergency number and was told the wardens would call her back.
After 20 minutes no one had contacted her so she called her son, she said.
“He was free,” she said. “He shouted out to a passer-by with a white van who had an angle grinder.”
She said the Good Samaritan had cut through the chain on the gate in Carlton Road so the park would still look secure.
Mrs Moss’s partner returned the next day and approached the warden who was locking up.
He alleged the warden had said Luke was “lucky he didn’t get a £75 fine”.
Mrs Moss, 45, said: “To be told that he was lucky he didn’t get a fine defies belief.”
Council leader Cllr Michael White said: “We received a report on Friday, December 13 at about 7.15pm stating someone was locked in the park. Our officers went and found no one there.
“All the locks on the gates were fully intact.
“Before locking parks, our officers drive through, ring a bell, flash lights or sound a horn to let people know the park is about to close.
“They would never lock the park knowing people were still inside.
“There is a fine if our teams are required to unlock a park to let vehicles out, not people, which is shown in the car park. However, we haven’t had to fine anyone to date.”