CHARITY trustees fear an ambulance would struggle reach a patient in an emergency if motorists continue to block access to its cancer support centre.

The Chyrelle Addams Cancer Support Trust raises funds and delivers activities and therapy from its base in Crook town centre.

But staff and visitors say vehicles are often parked at the rear, which as the emergency access needs to be kept clear. The back gate is also used by people with an illness or disability who use the stairlift and for stock deliveries and loading vehicles for charity events.

Trustee Kay Wigham said: “It is an important access so we’d appreciate drivers leaving it clear. We need to use it regularly but the big concern is if a cancer patient takes poorly and needs to leave in a hurry or get an ambulance, when timing is very serious, the access will be blocked.”

Crook Police said officers have been contacted on numerous occasions regarding illegal parking in the area.

A spokesperson said: “Crook Police have worked with Durham County Council and established that there is no parking within this single yellow lined area unless you are loading for a business purpose and you must be able to prove this. The maximum loading time is ten minutes. Parking Services have been informed and are going to be conducting extra patrols in the area and anyone parking illegally will be issued a penalty charge notice.”

To report illegal parking call the council on 03000-260000.