Hilsea Lido suffering from break-ins 'every day' with lifeguard left bruised in altercation
GANGS of youths have been breaking into Hilsea Lido ‘every day’ for the last week, according to staff, who have been subjected to ‘disgusting’ language and physical attacks.
Hilsea Lido – which is run by volunteers and paid lifeguards – is currently open only to over-18s who have booked for cold-water swimming sessions.
But gangs of youths have broken into the site every day for the last week, disrupting swimming sessions and leaving one member of staff shaken and bruised after an altercation at the site’s gates.
A group of the young yobs tried to barge past a lifeguard as she manned the front entrance on Monday, according to Helen Downing-Emms, the vice-chair of the trust that manages the site.
She said: ‘On Monday we had to abandon our last session.
‘One of our life guards was manning the gates and they tried to barge past her and she suffered bruises on her arm. She was very shaken up and went home for a few days.
‘They have also been throwing sticks and stones.
‘One of them got up in (another staff member’s) face and was using very threatening language.
‘This isn’t low-level stuff.’
Photos of the trespassers have been published on social media, soliciting some leads from the community.
Helen said: ‘We have had a fairly good response from our social media post – we have a few names and school mentioned.
‘We have handed all that information to the police.
‘But it seems like the police know who a lot of these children are.
‘It’s been pretty much every day – some times several times a day.
‘We are so fed up with it all. They know they are basically untouchable.’
One group smashed part of the lido’s fence to get into the site on Tuesday, with a volunteer fixing it the next day – only for it to be broken once again immediately.
Helen says the lido plans to reopen to families and unrestricted swimming later in the season, with all under-18s needing to be accompanied by an adult.
At present, the water’s temperature means it is restricted to cold-water swimming sessions, and staff numbers means the site cannot safely allow unaccompanied children.
Helen said: ‘The water is dangerous at the moment.
‘We have made the site as safe as we can.’
Calling on the police and Portsmouth City Council to tackle youth crime, she added: ‘But this isn’t a Hilsea Lido problem – it’s a city problem.’
The Hilsea Lido Pool for the People Trust was formed by members of the community to save the lido after the council abandoned plans for refurbishment in 2006.
Hampshire Constabulary have been contacted for further information.