Plea to silence sirens sparks social media storm but is it just a spoof?

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Daren Mochrie

Emergency sirens are ‘highly unsuitable for towns such as Tunbridge Wells’ where ‘Smart Alec ambulance personnel’ race through the streets.

That’s the apparent view of one resident named as Michael P. Moore, causing an outcry on social media and leading to Mayor David Elliott branding his comments ‘unhelpful’.

The controversial views were published as a letter in the Daily Mail and have been seized upon by some on social media as evidence that the Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells stereotype is alive and well.

Jack Pilcher May on Twitter said it was ‘just so Tunbridge Wells’, while Ian Robo said the fact Mr Moore comes from the town ‘rings all the bells’, adding ‘that he probably votes UKIP too’.

Twitter user Richard Albery simply said: “Tunbridge Wells… I rest my case.”

Mr Moore states: “The sirens used by ambulances that race through our streets may be suitable for motorways, but they are highly unsuitable for towns such as Tunbridge Wells.

“We have to put up with Smart Alec ambulance personnel blueing-and-twoing their way through our town at the slightest excuse.

“They see themselves as modern day heroes, out to ‘save lives’ – and they like to let everyone know by switching on their sirens and making a very loud noise.”

Mr Moore then goes on to list the instances where he has felt the use of the sirens has been initiated entirely to cause him discomfort.

He said: “I’ve experienced two instances of ambulances coming up behind me while I am walking and switching on their sirens just as they draw level.

“In both cases I jumped and no doubt the ambulance crews got their laugh – but I’m not laughing.”

He ends by imploring the Government to take action by banning sirens from the streets, adding: “…sirens cause me physical pain and I’d like to see them banned from our streets.”

Although some users were quick to point out the connection with Tunbridge Wells as a reason to believe it was a genuine letter, others have refuted its authenticity.

Ian Kenny said: “Tunbridge Wells? Looks like a spoof to me,” with another user, ECRJ, adding: “Surely a parody. Tunbridge Wells and the contrived idiolect gave it away.”

Mayor David Elliott believes it does not matter whether or not the letter is genuine because it is the reputation of the town which suffers.

He said: “This letter, which leaves the town open to ridicule, is unhelpful and not an accurate reflection of the town at all.”

A spokesman for the South East Coast Ambulance Service acknowledged the fact sirens could be intrusive, but added: “Their use is entirely discretionary and they are vital to alerting the public to the presence of an ambulance.

“They are often transporting people in time-sensitive instances and we hope the public understand we are using them for the right reasons.”

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