Portsmouth police issue stark warning about tombstoning risk

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POLICE have warned about the dangers of ‘tombstoning’ after a group of youths were spotted jumping off the Camber Dock in Portsmouth.

Officers say the youngsters were thought to be aged between 12 and 15, while others were spotted climbing up a crane nearby, in a bid to jump from a higher platform.

The police were called and some of the youths fled.

But officers handed two of the group dispersal orders stating they must leave the area.

No-one was hurt.

Now police are warning young people against ‘tombstoning’ – jumping from heights into water – saying it puts themselves in danger of death or severe injury.

It comes after the Coastguard revealed there have been 16 deaths and 50 serious injuries linked to tombstoning in the past six years.

Sergeant Rob Sutton said: ‘We will maintain an active presence in the area as we do not want to see a tragedy caused by tombstoning this summer.

‘Prominent signs are also in place to remind people of the dangers.

‘Many of us will remember the distressing pictures of Sonny Wells in hospital in 2008 after he was paralysed jumping off a jetty in Southsea.

‘I’d urge children and teenagers to think long and hard about their behaviour.

‘What may seem like an exciting dare or thrill at the time could have devastating or fatal consequences, which will affect family and friends for the rest of their lives.

‘I would also call on parents to know where their children are this summer so they can enjoy themselves safety and responsibly.

‘Jumping from piers, cliffs, rocks or other structures into the sea is dangerous.

‘The Coastguard warns that what was a deep pool at lunchtime might be a shallow puddle by teatime due to tidal conditions, and you do not know what lurks under the surface.

‘Coastguards also advise that if you want to jump from height into water, you may wish to join a trip with a reputable adventure centre or go to a swimming pool.’

Police have powers to move on people from the dispersal zone around the Camber Dock until 11.59pm on September 30 when the order runs out.