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Children dicing with death

PUBLISHED: 21:03 15 May 2002 | UPDATED: 11:55 03 March 2010

YOUNGSTERS are dicing with death by using the scaffolding on a burned out building as a climbing frame.

These children, who look around eight to ten years old, were spotted by our Evening Star photographer, Jerry Turner, climbing to the top of the scaffolding which is holding up the former offices for Burton's, who manufactured confectionery.

YOUNGSTERS are dicing with death by using the scaffolding on a burned out building as a climbing frame.

These children, who look around eight to ten years old, were spotted by our Evening Star photographer, Jerry Turner, climbing to the top of the scaffolding which is holding up the former offices for Burton's, who manufactured confectionery.

Here a youngster can be seen balancing precariously on a scaffold pole more than ten feet in the air.

Fences around the site have been kicked down and metal fencing put up around the building itself is lying on the floor.

Today, Paul Barker, Managing Director of O.B.O the company who erected the scaffold said the site is extremely dangerous and that if the youngsters stepped on to the roof area, they could easily fall through.

He said: "The reason the scaffolding is there is because the structure is unsafe.

"The whole place is a liability for a child and parents should be telling their children to keep off."

Mr Barker's company is not responsible for the security of the site, but he believes the only effective way to combat the problem is to have a security presence there 24 hours a day.

He is also concerned that the children might be trying to get inside the building.

Mr Barker said: "If they got into the building they could fall through the rotten floors."

The building in College Street was torched by arsonists overnight in April and the site has become a magnet for skateboarding youngsters – despite it being just a few minutes walk from the new Ipswich Skatepark in Stoke Bridge.

Pc Janet Humphrey is community police officer for the docks area and said that the police were concerned at the youngsters actions.

She said: "It is very dangerous for the children to be there and our concerns are that someone could get seriously hurt.

"I have been to talk to the children and we are trying to encourage them to use the skatepark but they just say that they prefer to be over there on their own.

"There is nothing we can do but to advise them to leave the area and tell them about the risks to their health."

Pc Humphrey also said they would be talking to the contractors about the security at the site.

A spokeswoman for building company R.G. Carter who made the building safe following the fire said that they would be going to the site to investigate the problem.


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