SOUTH Tyneside police have issued a safety warning after a boozed-up youth jumped into the Tyne.
The youngster was dragged from the river by his friends and police support officers after going into the water off the jetty on Hebburn riverside.
Sgt Pete Smith, of the Hebburn Neighbourhood Police team, also revealed the huge amounts of alcohol recovered from underage drinkers in the town over recent weeks.
And he pledged that town off-licences found to be selling alcohol to minors would face prosecution.
Speaking at a meeting of Hebburn Community Area Forum, he said: “The incident happened at Hebburn riverside, by the jetty and the White Lead. Kids hang around that area and we take it very seriously.
“One young lad was that drunk he decided to take it upon himself to jump in the Tyne.
“He was lucky enough that his friends were vigilant and they dragged him out and two of my police community support officers assisted.
“Thankfully nothing happened but I have been a police officer for quarter of a century now and I’ve dealt with too many incidents of people who have went in the river and have never come back out.
“So over the last two weekends our team has been in that area trying to get the message across to the kids not to go into the river, that it could lead to tragedy for themselves and a tragedy for their families.”
The river rescue happened on Saturday, April 5, and came only days after 25 firefighters fought to bring a suspected “malicious” blaze under control at the same site.
It was believed youngsters may have been responsible for starting the blaze at Hebburn riverside, which badly damaged the disused wooden structure, off Blackett Street, Hebburn, to the rear of the Eco Centre.
Meanwhile, Sgt Smith also revealed that over two recent weekends 30 litres of wine, 38 cans of lager and 23 bottles of beer had been taken from underage drinkers on the streets of the town.
He added: “We approached one 18-year-old who had been buying alcohol for these youths and made clear the danger in which he was placing them.”
Sgt Smith also reported on recent two burglaries in the town’s Witton Road. Both incidents happened as a result of doors being left open.
He added: “The message is to be vigilant.”