Drivers have been criticised after a fire engine on an emergency call was delayed by 'inconsiderate parking'.

Crews had to get out and guide the fire engine with torches down the narrow lane to get past vehicles in the early hours drama.

It came as a crew from Charmouth Fire Station was called to help paramedics get into a property in the village so they could treat a patient.

A spokesperson for the crew said: "At 3.49am (on Saturday) were mobilised to assist the ambulance service to gain entry to a property.

"Our progress was made slow due to inconsiderate parking on Old Lyme Road, Charmouth.

"We only just managed to get the appliance through, guided by crew with torches. It was extremely tight and caused undue delay.

"Please, when parking think - can a fire engine get through that gap?"

Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service says the brigade's smallest appliance needs a minimum of 3 metres, or the width of two cars, to pass safely.

Poor or inconsiderate parking, even if only for a few minutes, can delay crews during an emergency call and, in the case of a rapidly developing fire, "every second counts".

Drivers may not be parking illegally, but the service wants you to consider - is there a smarter option? Would a space a few metres away be a better place to stop?

Top tips for drivers: 

*Pull in your wing mirrors (don’t forget to flip them out before driving off)

*Don’t park too close to corners, fire engines are larger than cars and need more room to turn

*If you’re parking opposite someone, remember that a fire engine needs 3m, or two car widths, to pass safely

*Make sure your wheels are straight and not sticking out

*Park as close to the kerb as you can

*Always follow the Highway Code and obey the road markings such as yellow lines and box junctions

*In narrow streets, only park on one side of the road where possible

*Make sure you leave enough space for pedestrians on the pavement

*Don’t block driveways