TRAFFIC CHAOS: Drivers caught in Fishergate jams call 999 for help

Drivers pictured struggling to get out of the Fishergate Shopping Centre car park during late night shopping in Preston in 2015
Drivers pictured struggling to get out of the Fishergate Shopping Centre car park during late night shopping in Preston in 2015

Trapped drivers who desperately tried to leave a car park at a Preston shopping centre flooded police with emergency calls reporting traffic congestion, say police.

Drivers reportedly called police to say they were stuck in long tailbacks in the Station Approach, Butler Street and Fishergate areas.

And frustrated members of the public are also said to have became abusive to staff at Fishergate Shopping Centre.

Police are now asking drivers in Preston to remember that police officers are unable to offer support for traffic congestion issues.

PCSO Stephen Connolly of Preston Police said: "Can I please remind motorists that the police have no control over congestion and cannot provide officers to direct traffic.

"Over the last couple of days we've had a massive amount of calls to the Lancashire Police control room both via 101 and 999 to report that motorists are stuck in congestion.

"I understand that congestion can be very frustrating but please do not report it to us as there is nothing that we can do. These calls can often take a lot of our call taker's time and prevents us from taking reports of crime and other police incidents.

"We have also had reports of members of the public becoming abusive to staff at the shopping centre.

"This behaviour cannot be tolerated and action will be taken against individuals acting in this manner. Staff at the shopping centre are trying their best to ease congestion, but like ourselves are very limited in what they can do."

Police have said that the congestion is due in part to the rail replacement bus service which has seen the closure of the short stay car park on Butler street to allow a place for the buses to pick up and drop off.

Drivers who would have previously parked in the car park are said to be waiting around the station and causing jams.

BID Manager Mark Whittle said that although the development should be expected to cause some disruption he will be encouraging the council to find a solution to the problem.

He said: "Major construction and development initiatives will always, without doubt, cause some short term disruption.

"Someone, somewhere, will always be inconvenienced. Of course we are sympathetic to concerns raised by those affected and we will be encouraging Lancashire County Council together with Virgin to ease this temporary problem."

Police are reminding drivers trying to access the train station that Sation Approach is for drop-offs only. Anybody picking up at the station is advised to park in nearby streets or to use the Virgin multi-storey car park which is free for 30 mins.