A PRIVATE ambulance driver has been found guilty of using his blues and twos illegally.

The owner of a medical event company was stopped after putting on flashing blue lights and sounding a two-tone siren on a privately-owned rapid response vehicle despite not being authorised to do so and while not involved in a medical emergency.

The culprit has been fined £300 with £115 costs and was given seven points on their licence for the incident in Minehead on July 22 last year.

He had been convicted of driving without due care and attention, causing the use of a vehicle fitted with a blue light and use of a vehicle fitted with a two-tone horn/siren.

Avon and Somerset Police are now warning private ambulance drivers they will be prosecuted if they use sirens and flashing blue lights illegally.

A force spokesman said only companies authorised by an NHS Trust are allowed to use sirens and blue flashing lights in an emergency - currently only Bristol Ambulance Service is authorised locally by South Western Ambulance Service NHS Trust.

Drivers of private ambulances from other firms are being warned they could be fined and get points on their driving licence if they are found to be breaching the law on the public highway.

Superintendent Andy Williams, Avon and Somerset Police head of road safety, said: "Unauthorised drivers using sirens and blue lights on public roads can pose a danger to the public.

"Not only that but others have been known to use them for financial gain.

"We’re working with South Western Ambulance Service NHS Trust to ensure those private ambulance service and event medical providers operating within the force area comply with the legislation.

"This includes the correct marking up of their vehicles, the incorrect fitting and use of emergency equipment and the driving within the highway code and not in an emergency response mode.

"Those who flout these laws will be reported and dealt with robustly as shown recently."

In another unrelated case handled by Avon and Somerset Police, a private ambulance provider was also prosecuted for road traffic offences by using a car marked up as an ambulance with emergency lighting fitted, allowing him to avoid paying tolls on the second Severn Bridge.