Fears over seabed hazards

A TWO feet long spike, set of steps, razor sharp oil drum and part of a scaffold pole were among items embedded in the seabed where families were paddling and swimming.

By Richard Cornwell

A TWO feet long spike, set of steps, razor sharp oil drum and part of a scaffold pole were among items embedded in the seabed where families were paddling and swimming.

Some people enjoying the hot weather this summer have suffered cuts and grazes from the objects.

Resort officials at Felixstowe said today that shifting sands and strong tides had exposed the obstructions, some of which had been buried for years.


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Other items found during an operation to tidy up the near-shore area and make it safe included at Cobbold's Point the wooden remains of an old pier, on which a swimmer gashed his leg as he plunged into the waves.

Doreen Savage, chairman of the resort regeneration committee, said: "The record-breaking weather has brought more people to our resort but ironically it is also the vagaries of the weather that has been causing some problems on our beaches.

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"The tides mean that beaches are always changing and some of the recent strong waves have been revealing obstructions that have remained hidden for years or some that no-one even knew existed.

"We have staff checking our beaches on a daily basis because we know that unexpected hazards could emerge.

"All we can do is to act promptly when these do appear and great efforts were made last week to clean up the worst known areas."

The worst area was between The Dip at Cliff Road, Old Felixstowe, and Cobbold's Point, Undercliff Road East. Swimmers reported problems and warning signs and buoys were put in place.

"The most dangerous thing that our inspections revealed was a 50-gallon oil drum that was still three-quarters buried in the sand below the low water mark," said Mrs Savage.

"No-one can know how long it was there, but the shingle had clearly been wearing away at its rim and parts of it were almost razor sharp.

"Finding obstructions is one thing, being able to do anything quickly about them is something else as they would not be underwater obstructions if they were not hidden by the tide most of the time."

Removing the oil drum took two days' work at low tide with a digger.

Anyone spotting obstructions is asked to report them to the Felixstowe Tourist Information Centre on 01394 276770 or council engineers on 01394 444226 with an exact location and description so action can be taken.

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