FIRE crews from Worcester are still having to cover Malvern at night due to a lack of available crews, leaving the city with only one fire engine.

The Worcester News previously reported how retired firefighter Saul Bolton, a former watch commander from Malvern, was calling for more to be done to ensure there was guaranteed overnight fire cover in the town.

The situation has not changed, and last weekend, a crew from Worcester had to cover the town as no crew was a available from the retained crews.

Mr Bolton said: “During the 20 years I was at Malvern we didn’t have a single night where there were no crews available.

“Now, since they have changed the shift arrangements, there have been at least a dozen.”

In January, A spokesman for Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (HWFRS) said: “As we currently have two full-time appliances at Worcester, one has been moved to Malvern as required, whilst always maintaining the agreed cover for the city.

“The current fire crew system at Malvern Fire Station is difficult to maintain as it requires full-time staff to volunteer to be available for night-time cover, in addition to the availability of retained firefighters.

“Recent retirements of full-time firefighters at Malvern have created gaps that HWFRS is working to address in a more sustainable way to improve resilience.”

Mr Bolton, who retired in September 2018, said: “If the work contracts are changed so the crews can to do days and nights, which the unions have agreed is fine, then that means you get guaranteed nighttime cover in Malvern and Worcester.

“If we could do that then it would have the double effect as Malvern could keep their night time cover and Worcester would not have to lose one of its fire engines.”