One of Southend's specially-trained scuba diving parking attendants in training earlier in 2015.

A team of scuba diving Civil Enforcement Officers is about to head north to Carlisle in Cumbria to ensure that parking restrictions are upheld in areas with some of the most devastating flooding that has been seen in a generation. The group of six specially-trained individuals are due to leave this evening, having just undertaken some emergency training in issuing PCNs when existing parking markings are entirely submerged.

Martin Thompson is the captain of the group, and he told a reporter from Southend News Network that they were moved to take action after seeing images of the terrible flooding on TV news. He said, ‘As soon as the first pictures emerged of entire neighbourhoods that were under 8ft of water, we were immediately concerned that a number of vehicles may be illegally parked without local enforcement officers being able to see double yellow lines and other legally-binding signage. However, all of us have undertaken a great deal of training in the past to deal with a situation just like this, and so we are pleased to be able to head north and ensure that offending vehicles can be issued with fines accordingly.

He continued, ‘We will be travelling with the very latest scuba diving apparatus, and this will enable us to take photographs of offending vehicles and issue a PCN in flood water that is up to 10ft deep. They simply do not have this sort of equipment in Cumbria at the moment, and to be fair local staff need to concentrate on getting peoples’ homes cleared up – this is why we are delighted to step in. The fact remains that a vehicle is illegally parked regardless of whether or not the owner can reach it, and in a similar manner a car that has been pushed onto a double yellow line by raging torrents of water is technically breaking the law as well.’

Alongside their work to issue PCNs to vehicles, the team will also dedicate time to making sure that parking enforcement signs are visible again by working in conjunction with fire safety crews to pump away excess water. Mr Thompson finished by saying, ‘This sort of exercise will give us the valuable experience to deal with the same sort of situation if it ever occurred in Southend. Floodwater has the potential to play havoc with local parking enforcement, and so if the worst happens at home we will be in a great position to keep traffic moving.’

In another late development, local government officials have also offered the services of three CCTV submarines, and these are being transported to Cumbria over the course of today.