Tombstoning an ‘incredibly dangerous thing for young people to be doing’

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MORE warnings have been issued about tombstoning in a bid to discourage young people from putting their lives at risk.

A shocking video was released earlier this week that showed youngsters gambling with life and death by leaping off Portsmouth’s Round Tower in the craze known as tombstoning.

A person jumping from the walls of Clarence Pier

A person jumping from the walls of Clarence Pier

The footage, released by the RNLI, shows two tombstoners jumping 35ft from the tower into shallow water covering jagged rocks last week, filmed by a shocked member of the public.

Councillor Neill Young is the cabinet member for education on Portsmouth City Council.

He said: ‘It goes without saying that tombstoning is an incredibly dangerous thing for these young people to be doing.

‘I appreciate it’s hot and I appreciate it seems like fun but what they don’t seem to realise is they are risking serious injury and even death.

‘As the summer holidays are upon us now it’s even more important to warn young people of the dangers. They should not take the risk.’

Residents who have visited the Hot Walls in Old Portsmouth in the recent hot weather say more needs to be done to discourage young people.

Phyl and Paul Payne, from Old Portsmouth, say the signs aren’t enough.

‘The youngsters just ignore the signs and carry on,’ said Phyl.

‘There needs to be people patrolling the area on hot days to stop people doing it.’

RNLI lifeguards took the decision to publish the video to warn others of the dangers.

Rogan Wheeldon, RNLI lifeguard supervisor at Southsea, explained that all tombstoning is dangerous, but described the tombstoning in the video as ‘some of the most dangerous’ he’d ever seen.

He said: ‘Our advice is simple – please don’t tombstone.

‘You will be risking broken limbs, paralysis or death for a quick thrill.

‘It’s not worth it. In this spot in Portsmouth there are also very strong water currents of six to eight knots which can sweep you out to sea.’

In May 2008 Sonny Wells, from Waterlooville, was paralysed by jumping off South Parade Pier.

According to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, there have been 20 deaths and 76 serious injuries caused by tombstoning in the UK since 2005.

The RNLI will launch a major drowning awareness campaign today called Respect the Water, during which the charity will be helping people to stay safe this summer.