Firefighters banned from repatriations

On duty fire crews have been banned from paying their respects at repatriations in Wootton Bassett. Firemen from Swindon stations have been told they can't travel to the town if they're at work. It's caused anger among crews, who've been allowed to attend repatriations since they started in 2007.

In a statement, a spokesman from the fire service said: "Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service fully supports the repatriation events at Wootton Bassett, and we have allowed our personnel to attend these events since they started.

The Service will continue to be represented at the repatriations by personnel from Wootton Bassett fire station, which is in keeping with the tribute being provided by the Wootton Bassett community. These staff will attend on foot on a voluntary basis.

We have a duty to the public we serve to ensure that our resources are used in the best way – this means having the right personnel and appliances in the right place at the right time. As such, strategic fire cover both within Swindon and across the county of Wiltshire is our priority and we can no longer support the attendance of operational crews and appliances from Swindon at these repatriation events. Off-duty personnel are free to attend in uniform if they wish.

In addition, off-duty personnel are also encouraged to attend the parade outside the police station at Gablecross in Swindon, which is held at the same time as a mark of respect to those who are being repatriated."