Ashfield council officers avert tragedy as driver goes wrong way on M1

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Community protection officers from Ashfield District Council helped prevent a potential catastrophe earlier this week, when they spotted a driver going the wrong way down a busy road.

Nottinghamshire Police had received reports of a driver going the wrong way down the M1 between junctions 26 & 27 around 7.30pm. Police and Highways were deployed and rolling road blocks put on, but they were unable to locate the vehicle.

Unaware of calls to the police, the community protection officers came across a car travelling on the wrong side of the A608, causing vehicles to swerve to avoid it as they approached the M1 island at junction 27.

Realising the vehicle presented a danger to the public, the officers followed it at a safe distance while contacting Nottinghamshire Police.

Councillor Daniel Williamson, cabinet member for community safety, said: “These two officers took immediate actions when the spotted the driver and they should be highly commended for that. Their swift action prevented a far more serious incident from occurring."

The council officers got the driver's attention by flashing the lights of their vehicle and when he stopped approached the vehicle and removed the keys from the ignition.

The elderly driver had reported having driven a long distance and become confused when on the M1.

Without the officers taking action, the possible could have been extremely dangerous to both the public and the driver.

Inspector Simon Allen of Nottinghamshire Police said: "Without those actions, it could have been a really serious incident, which doesn’t bear thinking about. We would like to commend the officers for their actions and thank them on behalf of the force.

“The man was taken to Kings Mill Hospital following concerns for his welfare. Immediate action has taken place."

He added: "We are working with police colleagues in the driver's home force to ensure we keep the man and other road users safe, we are investigating into the manner of his driving and we have referred the incident to the DVLA."

Coun Williamson said: “Incidents like this demonstrate the effectiveness of the council and police working together.

"I would like to pass on my sincere thanks to both officers involved.”