AN emergency service has come under fire for rushing to the aid of a cyclist who needed her bike cutting free from a padlock.

Firefighters sped through York last week with sirens and lights activated – but the incident merely involved a bike padlocked to another bike.

Witness Ian Mitchell said he heard the sirens before seeing the fire engine speed to the scene in Duncombe Place at about 6.15pm last Tuesday.

He said he believed the action was "a total waste of public money" which potentially put lives at risk.

Mr Mitchell said: "What we and many people witnessed was outrageous, there were two community police officers at the bike racks and a member of the public had lost their key to their bike.

"This was a total waste of tax payers money and put the life of innocent people at risk, not only from the high speed dash and running red lights, but if there was a fire or a road traffic incident and this engine was needed and the wrong side of town, someone could have died."

York councillor Andrew Waller, who sits on North Yorkshire Fire Authority, said he would look into what had happened and why.

A spokeswoman for North Yorkshire Police said: "A PCSO came to the assistance of a member of the public in Blake Street after an unknown third party had locked their bike to hers using a D lock.

"PCSOs do not carry metal cutting equipment and therefore assistance was requested from the agency who do. The bike was cut free - the other bike was secured by a second lock. It is not clear why the unknown person had locked the bike to theirs."