Anglers have been fired a safety warning after a pair pictured fishing on a pier amid high waves were labelled ‘beyond belief’.
The duo were seen on South Shields Pier on Monday, with waves crashing over both sides of it during high winds.
Many anglers believe catching fish is easier during stormy conditions, with the rough water churning up food in the water.
However, anglers looking to take advantage of that by venturing out onto piers during high waves have been warned they could be putting their lives at risk.
Tom Fennelly, honorary secretary of South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade, said: “It’s beyond belief. You have to wonder what on earth they get out of it.
“This type of weather attracts anglers, who tell me that fish come into shore when the bottom is turned up.
It’s beyond belief. People really ought to exercise extreme cautionTom Fennelly
“That’s fine, but when you use the beaches, piers and coasts for angling purposes, you really have to think about your own safety, and the safety of others who may have to come to your aid if you come into difficulties.
“The majority of anglers seem very sensible, but unfortunately there is a minority who deliberately choose to put themselves into quite dangerous positions.
“No one wants to stop them angling, but they really do need to be careful and much more considerate of the dangers of the conditions.
“On Sunday and Monday, waves were breaking over both sides of the pier, and anyone on it at that time would have been at extreme risk.
“They could have easily been taken into the sea. It’s a potentially very dangerous situation.
“The waves have got immense power, and can carry rocks and debris, especially at this time of year. People really ought to exercise extreme caution.”
Anglers were back on the pier yesterday in somewhat more benign conditions, but have been advised to take extra care.
Adrian Don, spokesman for Tynemouth RNLI, said: “The river can be very, very unpredictable. Even if people are confident in it, it doesn’t mean they aren’t going to be caught out by it.
“There’s a lot of debris in the river at the moment which is being tossed about, which makes it doubly dangerous.
“When there is potential for danger, we advise people to be really careful.
“We’re not the water police, and we understand people may have a desire to go fishing. Is that desire greater than just staying safe, though?
“Their motivation for fishing in these conditions is that they are able to get a few extra fish, but is that worth the risk?”
Councillor Tracey Dixon, lead member for area management and community safety at South Tyneside Council, said: “We would encourage people to take care along our coastline, particularly during stormy weather conditions which we have experienced recently.
“Even on calm days, a sudden change in weather can create life-threatening hazards without warning with even those with vast experience of the sea getting caught out.
“Strong waves crashing against the coast can look spectacular but they pose a serious safety risk for anyone in the immediate area.
“The sea is unpredictable. We would ask people to respect it and not put themselves in danger.”