A mystery motorist hunted by highways chiefs after filling in a huge pothole in Cornwall has said the local council should be thanking him.
Emily Atkinson www.independent.co.uk
The unnamed vigilante repairman allegedly spent £1,000 of his own money to fill the 10ft hole with concrete. The crater lies in the middle of a road in Lostwithiel, which has been closed for more than a month to the despair of residents.
The man has since broken his silence, telling MailOnline he is, in fact, an experienced road worker who only had acted in support of his neighbours.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, he said: “ I thought it was a good thing to do personally. I think I did everybody a favour.
“If anything the council should be thanking me, not hunting me down. I spent the seven hours and £1,000 hiring the equipment and buying materials.”
Days after the hole was filled, the council deployed its own road maintenance team to reinstall the barriers to close off the road once again, saying the work had been done “by persons unknown, without consent”.
Council chiefs then urged residents to turn in the man, but he remains confident he won’t face retribution.
“Why kick up such a fuss? It was open for three days before they put the concrete blocks back. I think the council are just trying to save face now because they’re embarrassed,” he said.
The unnamed man’s actions were subject to widespread acclaim, with former Cabinet minister Jacob Rees-Mogg among those heaping praise on the guerilla repair operation.
“The bureaucratic state hates being humiliated so resorts to bullying the good citizen,” he wrote on Twitter.
One nearby resident told MailOnline: “The person who filled it is a hero.”
Another compared the mystery man to Sir Rod Stewart, who last year helped fill potholes near his home in Harlow, Essex.
Cornwall Council’s roads repair company Cormac has said the road would now remain closed until 9 June, adding it did not intend to mend it again until it has caught up with a backlog of pothole repairs.
Ahead of this month’s local elections, prime minister Rishi Sunak promised a clampdown on potholes.
On a visit to Darlington, he said new powers would help ensure firms repair roads properly after carrying out works, through more fines and inspections.
Local councillor Colin Martin stands in front of pothole which has closed the road in Lostwithiel
The government also said it was investing more than £5.5bn between 2020 and 2025 in highways maintenance, with an extra £200m to help fix potholes announced in March’s budget.
A Cornwall Council spokesperson said: “There is an ongoing issue with drainage at this site which has led to the deterioration of the road surface. These drainage issues have meant that any surface repairs during the winter have been temporary.
“As we are now moving into warmer and drier weather, Cormac [the maintenance company] can programme in the permanent drainage and surfacing repairs needed at this site.”