A YOUNG footballer who suffered a horrific leg fracture on the field was rushed to hospital in a fire engine after being told there was a five hour wait for a paramedic.

Harry Wilkins, 16, of Coggeshall, lay in agony on the pitch after a tough tackle left his ankle broken in two places.

East of England Ambulance Service has apologised to his family after an on-pitch medic was told the wait was five hours for an ambulance and called the fire service instead.

Mum Claire Wilkins, 48, said: “The ambulance service themselves obviously do a fantastic job but somebody is doing something wrong if they cannot get ambulances to people that have had serious injuries.

“He would have stayed lying on the pitched until the ambulance turned up because he couldn’t be moved because he was in so much pain.

“Something has gone wrong, somewhere money is going to the wrong places.”

The Hadleigh United under 18 midfielder’s left tibula and fibia were broken 15 minutes into the friendly home game in Suffolk.

Firefighters who responded immediately gave Harry oxygen for his pain before attaching a splint to his leg and lifting him to the back of their engine on a stretcher.

They then rushed him to the A&E department at Ipswich Hospital.

Mother-of-two Claire said: “The hospital was actually quite surprised to see a fire engine arrive and they did ask us a couple of times how come we were here so late when the accident happened at 8pm.

“Obviously that ankle is going to be weaker than the other one because it’s got the pins in now and it’s had a big, big break.

“He’s in plaster for six weeks, so basically the whole summer, and he’s not allowed to fly so we cannot go on our holiday now.

“It was a Wednesday night - what it would have been tonight when there’s Lattitude Festival when there are hundreds of people phoning for ambulances?”

A spokesman for the East of England Ambulance Service apologised to Henry’s and said it was dealing with almost 150 serious or life-threatening calls at the time.

He added: “We would urge Henry or his family to get in touch if they wish this to be investigated further.”

Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service confirmed its attendance but declined to comment further.