Anglers have been captured on camera dicing with death as they fish off cliff tops in South Tyneside.
It is understood the group were taking part in a fishing competition on Sunday in Marsden.
This is not a practice we would encourage and by doing so, these people are putting themselves at extreme risk.Tom Fennelly
But despite safety warning along the Leas to remain on the right side of the barriers, anglers were seen setting up base on the edge of cliffs in a bid to snare the best catch.
The move has been blasted by police who say the “barriers are in place for a reason.”
Over the years, a number of people have been badly injured or lost their lives after falling from cliffs along the South Tyneside coastline.
One passer-by told the Gazette: “Given Marsden Rock is about 100ft high I would suggest these fishermen are on cliff edges about 150ft high.
“I gather there were prizes at stake but is that really worth putting your life on the line for?
“Along the section of coast where I was, between Marsden Grotto and Souter, there were about 20 people standing on the wrong side of the railings. One of them had set a tent up on the wrong side as well!
A spokesman for Northumbria Police said: “We were not notified about this event, however would like to remind members of the public the barriers are in place for a reason and under no circumstances should people cross the barriers as by doing so they are putting themselves at significant risk.”
The cliffs are monitored by the National Trust with barriers and signage checked regularly due to erosion making the cliff edges unsafe.
Tom Fennelly, Honorary Secretary of South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade, said: “We are aware that from time to time some anglers do fish from the wrong side of the barriers along the cliff tops.
“This is not a practice we would encourage and by doing so, these people are putting themselves at extreme risk.
“But apart from highlighting the risks to them, I’m not sure what else ourselves, the police or the coastguard can do.
“We have in the past been called out to anglers who have fallen from cliff tops and as a result have been injured.
“All we can do is ask them to think about what they are doing and to think about their own safety, not just when fishing from the cliff tops, but also on the beaches and the pier.
“At the end of the day these are adults and it’s a decision they are taking to put their lives at risk, but it’s one we would actively discourage.”