'There isn't much smaller than a Reliant Robin': Pensioner converts three-wheeler into world's smallest fire engine

John Ward driving his Reliant Robin fire engine (Geoffrey Robinson / Rex Features)

A pensioner has spent four months converting his trusty Robin Reliant into the world's smallest working fire engine.

John Ward spent hundreds of pounds on the transformation of his tiny motor into a fully functional fire engine with six water cannons, a ladder and even a brass bell.

John, from Spalding in Lincolnshire, fitted the eye-catching vehicle - most famous for its appearance in 'Only Fools and Horses' -  with red and blue lights, reflective stripes and fire extinguishers. It has a top speed of 60mph and a 50-litre water tank.

Wearing his fluorescent yellow jacket and black cap John often takes the fire engine out for a spin and with its enormous ladder which can extend to 18 feet the vehicle is hard to miss.

The fire engine can seat two "firemen" in the front and carries the motto: "You've not been put out until we put you out".

The self-taught engineer was inspired to convert his Robin Reliant into a fire engine following Government plans to merge fire forces and use retained staff on call at home, instead of full time firemen.

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John, who is in his 70's, said: "With all these cuts to the fire service I wondered how small you could go and there isn't much smaller than a Robin Reliant, unless you go down to a bike."

"It has taken about four months to build and is all street legal with MOT, tax and insurance.

"I take it for drives around the country lanes and I get lots of grins and beeps from other cars. If you have a fire in a phone box we can put it out for you."

John has taken his fire engine to several classic car shows and is using it to raise money for the Firefighters' Benevolent Fund.