Youngsters still tombstoning off the pier despite warnings

Youngsters still tombstoning off the pier despite warnings

West Bay harbourmaster James Radcliffe

First published in Bridport Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Photograph of the Author by

WEST BAY: Just weeks after police warned about the dangers of tombstoning youngsters have been seen doing it at West Bay.

This picture was taken by a concerned member of the public last week to show the advice is being ignored.

Youngsters jumping off the East Pier at West Bay have been seen narrowly missing boats coming in and out of the harbour.

West Bay harbourmaster James Radcliffe said the harbour was a dangerous place to do it with the possibility that bits of the old pier were still sticking up under the water.

He said: “Every year we dredge the harbour but we are still bringing up bits of the old pier that was taken down so there are bits down there that do stick up that could cause serious injury.

“They don’t know these bits are there, we don’t always know they are there and the harbour does silt up quite quickly so it is probably shallower than they think.”

He said despite the warnings and the bylaw prohibiting tombstoning people were still doing it.

He added: “We have been finding they have been doing it at six o’clock in the morning before we get here and after eight o’clock at night when we go.”

He said both locals and holidaymakers were tombstoning and the response to warnings was mixed.

“Some of them listen and others argue it and think they are clever.

“It’s disappointing that they don’t pay any attention. It’s the ones that think they know what they are doing and their friends that copy them that are the ones that get hurt normally.”

PC Scott McGregor, of Bridport Police, said: “It doesn’t come as a surprise that people do choose to ignore warnings – it is the reckless behaviour of these individuals which is the point of the joint publicity surrounding tombstoning and why people need to take heed of it. They risk serious or significant injury by virtue of what tombstoning is. You have to look on the internet to see examples of where it has all gone wrong but people will still carry on doing it.”

Nic Lonsdale, duty watch manager for Portland Coastguard, said: “Jumping from piers, cliffs, rocks or other structures into the sea can be very dangerous.

“What was a deep pool at lunchtime might be a shallow puddle by teatime due to tidal conditions and you do not know what other hazards might be under the surface.”

He added that according to the Coastguard database, since 2005 there have been 20 deaths and 76 serious injuries caused by tombstoning in the UK.

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