‘Reckless fools’ open up danger car park

PARKING FEARS ... National Trust warden Mick Simpson at the disused Souter car park, where the barrier has been moved to allow cars to enter.
PARKING FEARS ... National Trust warden Mick Simpson at the disused Souter car park, where the barrier has been moved to allow cars to enter.

‘RECKLESS fools’ have taken down barriers at a coastal car park in South Tyneside which was sealed off for safety fears.

The parking area at Lizard Point, off Coast Road, South Shields, was closed by experts in March 2010 after a 50-metre chunk of the cliffs collapsed at nearby Frenchman’s Bay.

Experts took the decision to close the car park by placing a barrier across the entrance because the structure of the rocks underneath was deemed unsafe.

But, some time between Christmas Eve and yesterday, the barrier, along with the warning signs, have been moved and people have started to reuse the site.

Mick Simpson, the National Trusts’s warden for The Leas, which owns the area, is urging drivers to stay away.

He said: “Engineers took the decision two years ago to close the car park because they deemed it too dangerous.

“But someone has came along and lifted the barrier up, to allow access and shifted the warning signs.

“This is a crass example of sheer recklessness. These people are reckless fools.

“People need to understand that this car park is closed for a reason.

“While it is a popular spot, there are other places to park safely.”

Yesterday afternoon, three cars were parked in the bays and Northumbria Police were called to help find their owners.

All the vehicles were safety removed, and Mr Simpson and his team are now making the area secure once again.

The erosion which caused the car park to close was believed to be the biggest rock fall on South Tyneside’s coast since the arch at Marsden Rock collapsed in February 1996.

Since then there has been a number of smaller cliff falls.

A spokeswoman for Northumbria Police said: “At 1.21pm yesterday, we received a call about the safety of two vehicles parked at Lizard Point.

“The car park was described as being in a dangerous condition and safety barriers had been removed.

“Officers attended the scene and helped members of the National Trust to trace the drivers.

“At 2.20pm, both cars had been removed, and the car park is to be secured by the National Trust.”

Twitter: @shieldsgazvez