Danger warning to ‘tombstoning’ youngsters in South Tyneside

'Tombstoning'
'Tombstoning'
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Young people who jump from South Tyneside cliffs, bridges and harbour walls into water unsupervised are dicing with death, council bosses have warned.

The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents dozens of councils and fire and rescue authorities across the country, has reported a summer holiday surge in the activity known as tombstoning.

Figures suggest tombstoning has led to two deaths a year over the last decade.

A number of incidents in South Shields have been reported over the past few years.

The LGA is calling on the Government to raise awareness of the dangers of jumping into water by extending a campaign run by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to schools.

At the moment the campaign is targeted at men aged between 18 and 29, but the LGA believes it should be rolled out to schools.

Simon Blackburn, chairman of the LGA’s safer and stronger communities board, said: “Tombstoning is extremely dangerous and grim statistics show that anyone doing it could kill themselves or end up with life-changing or serious injuries.

“Jumping into water may appear enticing during warm weather, but you should never jump off any structure directly into the sea or a river as you can never be sure how deep the water is below.

“Shallow water, unseen objects under the water, hitting something on the way down or simply landing badly can lead to people being killed or paralysed.

“The message is clear - if you don’t know that the depth of the water is safe or you cannot see what is below the surface, don’t jump.”