Dorset pensioner fined £130 for painting a zebra crossing on the road

Pensioner, 78, is fined £130 for criminal damage after he painted zebra crossing on busy road near his home that he struggled to cross with his disabled wife

  • Pensioner Laurie Phillips of Christchurch, Dorset painted his own zebra crossing
  • The 78-year-old complained to the local council about cars passing his house
  • He claims 5,000 cars a day use this road making it difficult to walk across 
  • He was fined £130 for criminal damage following a police investigation  

A pensioner has been fined £130 after he resorted to painting a zebra crossing over a busy road he and his disabled wife struggled to cross.

Laurie Phillips was investigated by the police and summoned to an interview at the police station over allegations he had caused criminal damage.

The 78-year-old had got fed up with his repeated requests to install a crossing near to his house going unanswered by town hall officials.

Laurie Phillips, pictured, installed a zebra crossing near his home in Mudeford Quay, Christchurch in Dorset after repeated attempts to ask the local council to act

Mr Phillips bought some white paint and marked out these rectangles on the road which he claims is used by 5,000 cars a day

Mr Phillips, pictured, claims that as many as 5,000 cars a day use the road outside his home

So the retired psychotherapist painted six white rectangular blocks on the road surface to form a makeshift zebra crossing.

Mr Philips, 78, got up at 5am and spent several hours putting down the makings at a dropped kerb on a road approaching Mudeford Quay in Christchurch, Dorset.

The beauty spot in popular with visitors and as many as 5,000 cars a day use the road.

The crossing was in place for four days and was respected by the traffic who stopped to let people cross, making it ‘dramatically safer’ for his wife Estelle, elderly residents and families with young children.

But council workers then came to wash away the markings and Laurie was reported to the police for ‘criminal damage’.

He has now been fined and issued with a community resolution order.

Mr Phillips labelled the police investigation an ‘unnecessary waste of police time’ which had caused him ‘unnecessary stress’.

He said all that mattered to him was getting a permanent crossing installed at the spot to improve pedestrian safety.

Mr Phillips said: ‘After lockdown was lifted last summer we were swamped with visitors and 5,000 cars were passing through each day.

‘I communicated with local Mudeford councillors 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?

Mr Phillips claimed the council were negligent in their obligation to consider disabled people in the area who would benefit from a zebra crossing

Despite his efforts, council workers removed his crossing, cleaning away the paint

‘Under the Equality Act 2010, as a service provider, not only do the council have a duty to make reasonable adjustments for an individual who is at a substantial disadvantage at that time due to their disability.

‘They also have to take positive steps to ensure that they anticipate the needs of potential disabled customers before they access council owned services.

‘The crossing was there for four days and it was respected by cars which stopped to let people cross.

‘It worked and made the road dramatically safer.

‘I was told well done by my neighbours but after four days the council came and washed it away.

‘Then I was informed I had been reported by someone from the council to the police for criminal damage and summoned to a police interview.

‘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.

‘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.’

Laurie has launched a petition to install a zebra crossing at this location which has already gathered 100 signatures.

It will go before BCP Council in due course who will decide on its viability.

A BCP Council spokesperson said: ‘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.

‘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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