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Legal documents hold no water

PUBLISHED: 23:11 18 June 2002 | UPDATED: 12:07 03 March 2010

IT SEEMS legal documents hold no water when it comes to the swimming saga of the Ipswich King of the Channel.

On Saturday The Evening Star revealed the plight of Sproughton man Mike Read who has had the key to Broomhill Swimming pool for the last 25 years so he can train as and when he wants.

IT SEEMS legal documents hold no water when it comes to the swimming saga of the Ipswich King of the Channel.

On Saturday The Evening Star revealed the plight of Sproughton man Mike Read who has had the key to Broomhill Swimming pool for the last 25 years so he can train as and when he wants.

Despite breaking numerous world records and swimming the English Channel 31 times, Ipswich Borough Council has ended the out of hours training sessions in case the 61-year-old gets into difficulties in the 50 metre pool.

But swimmer Mike Read said that several years ago he signed a legal agreement with the council absolving them of any blame should he get into difficulties while he is training alone.

However, now the council has reviewed the agreement and ended it because there is a danger he might get into difficulties.

Mr Read, who held the world record for the highest number of Channel swims for 25 years until two-years-ago, said: "The risks of swimming the Channel are substantially more than doing a few lengths in a pool - but the council seems petrified that I might have an accident on its premises.

"I used the pool without any problem for 25 years - yet all of a sudden they have changed the rules to make it really difficult for me

"The manager told me there was a risk that I might have a heart attack in the water - but people can die at any time."

Mr Read who first swam the Channel in 1969 and did the crossing six times in 1979, added: "I used to be able to bring along a responsible person when no staff were on duty.

"The council now says I can only use the pool at selected times when staff are present and when I have my own chaperone in walkie-talkie contact with them."

Ipswich Council spokesman Max Stocker said: "We took legal advice and found the agreement waiving the council of any responsibility for his safety is not valid.

"In the event of an accident we would still be liable and his next kin or estate would be able to sue us regardless of any agreement."

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