Vigilante brings Bognor Regis town centre to a standstill

Ron Ockwell
Ron Ockwell

Vigilante Ron Ockwell brought Bognor Regis town centre to a standstill in his mobilty scooter.

Mr Ockwell took the law into his hands by going bumper to bumper with a motorist he accused of illegally driving along High Street.

The stand-off lasted 20 minutes and caused a lengthy tailback of traffic and attracted a sizeable crowd of onlookers.

The situation was defused only by the arrival of two police officers. They said they could charge Mr Ockwell, 62, of Hillsboro Road, with obstruction.

But he was unrepentant about his actions.

He said: “I told the police no traffic is allowed through the High Street after 11am except for buses and emergency vehicles.

“I believe I was totally right in taking the action I did.

“Quite a crowd of people had gathered around me. Some were against what I was doing but quite a few said ‘well done’ to me.

“The traffic ban is just not being policed properly. They just don’t know how much nuisance it causes to people to have motorists driving through there all the time.

“The situation in the High Street has been there for a long time and enough people know about it now for there to be no confusion.

“It has got to be sorted out. People who drive through there deserve to get a ticket.

“Otherwise, it’s like saying the rules can’t be applied to someone driving at 50mph through a 30mph area.”

The current High Street traffic rules began in April 1999 as an experiment and became permanent two years later.

They give pedestrians priority across the central section which links the London Road precinct and the arcade.

Only buses and emergency vehicles are allowed through after 11am. Before then, it can be used for access to the precinct by disabled drivers and delivery lorries.

The area either side from Sussex Street and Bedford Street also has restricted access.

Disabled Mr Ockwell turned law enforcer at 11.20am last Tuesday.

The police officers took him and the motorist into a bus layby to talk to them about the problem.

Mr Ockwell said he had previously succeeded in stopping motorists when he was in the High Street

“They do turn round when I have stopped them,” he said. He would also take action again when he believed it was necessary.

Sergeant Nick Bowman, of Bognor police station, said the police officers had acted correctly.

“They assessed the situation and gave advice to all parties. The person in the wheelchair should not have stopped the traffic.”

But he said the bus lane through the High Street should be enforced.

“It’s a bus lane and designated as such and people should not be going through there. We can enforce that prohibition and we should be doing so,” he said.

He said he would be happy to talk further about the matter to Mr Ockwell.