18/10/2012 09:15 BST

AA Roadside Engineers To Retrain As Plumbers To Fix Boilers As Well As Cars

When your boiler breaks down, calling the AA might not be the obvious solution.

But some of AA's roadside patrollers are being trained to mend boilers, fix broken loos and tinker with pipes - when they aren't busy towing cars or jump starting flat batteries.

A trial of the scheme, involving around 10 volunteers, began in Northern Ireland over the summer, as a way to keep engineers busy when there are too few roadside emergencies to attend to.

The AA's famous yellow vans now head to plumbing emergencies

The AA's Sue Beeson told The Huffington Post UK that the service was part of their Home Assistance business, but some roadside engineers in Northern Ireland had volunteered to retrain to be able to do both jobs.

"There's no plans to roll this out to the rest of the UK, it's a trial and we need our 3,000 engineers in England, Wales and Scotland to tend to 2.5 million breakdowns a year. There are fewer we need to attend to in Northern Ireland."

But in a leaked memo published by The Sun, Operations Manager Keith Munns said: "By the time we get to winter we will know whether that has worked and it may well be that we have rolled that out a little bit further.”

Paul Grafton of the GMB union told The Sun he believed it was a cost-cutting measure.