Rugby fans are putting lives at risk by blocking in police and air ambulance helicopter bases near a stadium, it has been claimed.
Images taken from the air show cars filling a small lay-by off the A57 near the AJ Bell Stadium at Barton, making it impossible for emergency vehicles to get into the City Heliport at City Airport, also known as Barton Aerodrome.
Fans of Sale Sharks and Salford Red Devils use the lay-by to avoid paying at official car parks and to ensure they get a quick getaway at the end of games, it has been claimed.
If emergency vehicles cannot get to the site, police and air ambulance helicopters are not allowed to take off.
Dave Kibblewhite, base manager for the National Police Air Service, said: "The photo taken by our helicopter clearly shows the scale of the problem. © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services LimitedAerial image showing how cars parked by rugby fans in layby off A57 are blocking route for emergency vehicles
© Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited
"We are called to incidents all over the north west and often beyond.
"Police forces across the UK call on the National Police Air Service to help them to find suspects and vulnerable missing people or to support them with other tasks, such as the recent fires at Saddleworth Moor and Winter Hill.
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"We need to ensure that in the case of an emergency, that support could reach us at the City Heliport.
"With the lay-by blocked, this isn't possible. Without that safeguard in place, we can't take off, and that means that lives may be put at risk and that people may be put in danger unnecessarily."
Salford council bosses are asking motorists only to park in the marked bays along the left hand side of the lay-by - and have warned that those who ignore the road markings face £70 fines. © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited
Councillor David Lancaster, lead member for environment and community safety, said: "When just a few cars parked in the bays in the lay-by, there wasn't a problem. That leaves plenty of space for emergency vehicles to get through.
"Unfortunately drivers have started parking on both sides and down the central reservation in the lay-by.
"They perhaps don't realise that the City Heliport is there, which includes both the police helicopter, and air ambulance bases and that they are stopping their vital work by blocking the route.
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"We have to call time on this for safety reasons. We don't want to issue tickets to anyone, but there is no need to block the lay-by as there are hundreds of parking spaces at the stadium itself.
"People can also use public transport to get to games."