Private hire driver keeps licence after moving ambulance

A CABBIE who moved an ambulance which was on a call dealing with a sick baby has been allowed to keep his licence.

Neil John Whitehorn, of The Crescent, Eastbourne, denied moving the ambulance last summer but stood trial at Eastbourne Magistrates’ Court on February 18.

He was found guilty of obstructing or hindering a person assisting an emergency worker.

Magistrates gave Whitehorn a conditional discharge and ordered the 64-year-old to pay £620 in court costs.

Whitehorn faced the prospect of losing his private hire licence after being convicted and his case was heard before Eastbourne Borough Council’s licensing sub-committee.

The sub-committee held a meeting on Tuesday night (March 22), behind closed doors, and decided Whitehorn would be allowed to keep his licence.

He is allowed to continue his work as a cabbie in the town but will be closely monitored for the next two years.

Whitehorn was also given a written warning.

The ambulance Whitehorn moved had been blocking Pevensey Road in August as paramedics were preparing to take a one-month-old baby to hospital.

Police were called after the ambulance crew reported the vehicle had been taken but the ambulance was discovered nearby.

Speaking after Eastbourne Borough Council’s decision, a South East Coast Ambulance spokesperson said, “We hope Mr Whitehorn realises the potential seriousness of his actions, which could have hindered the treatment our clinicians provided at the scene.”

The spokesperson explained ambulances sometimes have no choice but to block the road during emergencies.

He added, “We recognise it can be frustrating, but we ask the public to recognise this is only being done to ensure that we are able to get to those who need our help quickly.”