TERRIFIED parents were forced to call the police after a beloved lollipop man was abused.
Officers arrived at St Peter’s Catholic Primary School, Billericay, to find an elderly man blocking the zebra crossing and stopping passing traffic on Southend Road.
Onlookers claimed he had also hurled verbal abuse at 71-yearold TomDodd, who has patrolled the crossing outside the school for the past six years.
It is not the first time officers have been called to a disturbance outside St Peter’s.
The elderly man, who is thought to live near the school, has staged a number of one-man protests against parents using the zebra crossing instead of a nearby footbridge.
In May, Essex County Council revealed it had scrapped moneysaving plans to get rid of lollipop men and women.
Mum Louise Steel, 33, of Tyrone Road, Billericay, who was behind a campaign to save Tom, witnessed the latest incident last Friday.
She said: “He has been very aggressive and abusive to Tom.
“Tom is quite an elderly man himself, and his health isn’t brilliant, so he gets very upset.
“The man stands on the crossing so it means Tom can’t do his job.
“It's very scary for the children as well. They see Tom as their lollipop man who they fought really hard to keep, so it’s not nice for them to see him being abused.
“Wewere very lucky on Friday as my partner was there, so he was able to calm the situation. If there hadn’t been another male there, who knows what could have happened.
“His issue is we are not using the bridge and we are using the crossing, but most of us mums have pushchairs so it’s not really an option for us going up and down the steps.”
Police confirmed they were called to St Peter’s School at 8.50am on Friday, after reports of a disturbance. The man was arrested and taken to Billericay police station, but was later released without charge.