Injured biker’s agonising wait to be rescued

An injured motorcyclist was left in a 3ft ditch for more than two hours – because three police forces couldn’t decide who should rescue him.

Biker Richard Collins crashed near the village of Tilbrook in Cambridgeshire, which borders Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire.

His bike careered off the B645 road close to the border of the three counties on Sunday afternoon with the 49-year-old, of Potton Road, Everton, eventually taken to hospital in a police car 
in the evening.

Despite a 999 call going in shortly after 4pm, emergency services did not arrive until 6.40pm.

Police and Crime Commissioner for Northamptonshire Adam Simmonds has branded the mix-up a “scandal” and said “someone should answer for that”.

Cambridgeshire Constabulary said they received a call at 4.20pm from Northamptonshire Police but after assessing the incident referred it back to them.

Bedfordshire Police said they were informed about
the incident at 4.25pm by Northamptonshire Police, but 
told them it was not in their patch.

At 5.40pm – an hour and 15 minutes later –Bedfordshire Police were informed that no emergency services had attended and then immediately dispatched a police car.

It said due to the distance the car had to travel and difficulties in locating in the casualty, the car did not arrive at the scene until 6.40pm.

Mr Collins, who had injured his arm, was then taken in the car to Bedford Hospital as no ambulance had attended.

Bedfordshire Police and Cambridgeshire Police said they believed East Midlands Ambulance Service was contacted about the crash. The ambulance service has said it could not find the incident on its logs.

Mr Collins had been out riding with five other motorcyclists enjoying the weather when he hit an uneven road and swerved to avoid a car.

A man in a pick-up truck witnessed the accident and Mr Collins said: “He said police and an ambulance were on their way and so we waited.

“I managed to get back out of the ditch and on the road and sat and waited.

“I think I was in quite a lot of pain, I can’t really remember but I was trying not to move my arm.

“It was at a right angle, like a Harry Potter bent arm, and I had bruising.

“I waited about an hour and a quarter and then called 101. I didn’t want to call 999 as I didn’t want to block the line.

“At that point Northamptonshire Police said my call had been logged and someone was on their way.”

Mr Collins, then waited with his friends and called 101 again.

Mr Collins, a service engineer, said: “I called 101 at about 6ish and went back through to Northamptonshire Police.

“They transferred me to Cambridgeshire Police and they said the call had been transferred to Bedfordshire Police.“Half an hour later Bedfordshire Police turned up. At that point I didn’t really care as I was in pain. I was cold and I was thinking there must have been something more serious going on.

“The police officer could not believe nobody had responded and wasn’t going to wait for an ambulance to come and she took me to hospital, she was wonderful.

“There was a house directly opposite and the woman said they get lots of accidents. I just want there to be better communication in the future.”

Mr Collins’ arm is currently in a cast and he is due to visit hospital today for a check up.

The biking enthusiast, who had been married to wife Mary for 20 years, has had his orange Honda VFR for a year and fears the damage could lead to it being written off.

He said: “The suspension is broken and there’s body damage. I’m waiting for a call from the insurance to find out what is happening to it.”

Chief Inspector for Bedfordshire Police, Nick Lyall, said: “Although the incident did not occur in an area covered by Bedfordshire Police, as soon as we were made aware that no emergency services had attended, we immediately dispatched a police car.

“On arrival our officer took the decision to convey the casualty to hospital in the police car in order to ensure that he received medical treatment as soon as possible.

“We would like to apologise to the man involved for the length of time it took to get an emergency response to him, and we would like to reassure both him and the public that we are looking into the circumstances with colleagues at Northamptonshire Police, Cambridgeshire Constabulary and the ambulance service in order to prevent a repeat of such delays in the future.”

A Cambridgeshire Constabulary spokesman confirmed they had not received the 999 call and said: “It remains unclear as to which county the incident occurred in. It is clear that a better response should have been given. We will now work with Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire to find out what went wrong and ensure this is not repeated.”

Northants Police had not responded by the time the Chronicle went to press.