‘Make cliffs safer’ says campaigning South Shields mum after latest near-tragedy

Jean Costello wants something done about safety at Marsden cliffs.
Jean Costello wants something done about safety at Marsden cliffs.

A South Tyneside mum has challenged the “powers that be” to find a way of making South Tyneside cliffs safer after another near tragedy.

Jean Costello spoke out after a 46-year-old man was discovered on rocks at Frenchman’s Bay after falling from cliffs in the early hours of yesterday.

A man fell from the clifftop at Frenchman's Bay early yesterday.

A man fell from the clifftop at Frenchman's Bay early yesterday.

The man was last night being treated in hospital and his injuries are not believed to life threatening.

It is almost eight years since Mrs Costello’s son, Stephen Heslop, was found at the bottom of rocks near to the Marsden grotto.

Since his death, the grandmother, from Auckland Avenue, South Shields, has made no secret that she feels more should be done to make the clifftops safer.

Ms Costello said: “I was approached in the past by people wanting to involve me in discussions around safety measures at the clifftops, but nothing came of it.

“Hearing news like this, especially at this time of year, is so upsetting and distressing.

“My 15-year-old son spoke about safety nets being put in place. It may not be the solution but at least he was thinking about what could be done.

“Somebody really now needs to stand up and look at this as an issue and take some positive action.

“How many more lives are going to be lost before someone is willing to put themselves forward and look at this as a real concern?

“I’m not an expert and don’t have all the answers, but this needs to be looked at. This is why I am challenging the powers to be to come forward and speak to me and see what can be done to make the clifftops a lot safer for everyone.”

A South Tyneside Council spokesman said: “We are saddened to hear about this incident and wish the man in question a full recovery.

“We will be working with our partners to establish exactly what happened and look at what more we do to keep people safe in the cliff top area.”

A spokeswoman for Northumbria Police said: “At 1.52am this morning police received a call from the ambulance service about concern for a man at Marsden Cliffs in South Shields. The man, aged 46, was taken to hospital after falling from the cliff. His injuries are not believed to life threatening.”