Norwich firefighters issue plea for old cars

Norfolk firefighters have been left short of cars to practice on as a result of the government's scrappage scheme.

Norfolk Fire Service says old cars are vitally needed at its Bowthorpe training centre for practicing their skills in dealing with car crashes.

One of the companies which the fire service works with is DLH Autorecyclers, based in Happisburgh. Dave Horsnell, pictured, who runs the company, said: 'The current shortage in vehicles is a knock-on effect of the scrappage scheme. Over 400,000 old vehicles were prematurely scrapped through the scrappage scheme and this has had a significant impact on the numbers of old vehicles available to us. As a consequence of the small numbers of vehicles being scrapped, there is also an unusually high price on scrappage metal itself. We are steadily getting numbers back up, but urgently need people with old cars to come forward.'

Greg Preston, training and development manager at the fire service's Bowthorpe training centre, said: 'These cars are used for training and assessment scenarios in extraction techniques.

'It is a particularly resource-intensive training method and we do need a constant supply of cars. Donating these cars has a benefit for us and the general public.

'By allowing us to safely dispose of these cars, we get less abandoned vehicles and less potential for arson.

'The environmental and safety hazards that burning abandoned cars presents to the general public, due to the chemicals which are released, is very real.'

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To donate a car, all the public need to do is call 0800 587 0177, or visit Cars cannot be left at local fire stations. At present, the fire service pays �50 per vehicle, and owners must present a V5 logbook.