Lives at risk after barriers moved

PEOPLE'S lives could have been at risk today in Ipswich after it emerged that confusion led to members of the public wandering around Cornhill when it should have been closed off.

PEOPLE'S lives could have been at risk today in Ipswich after it emerged that confusion led to members of the public wandering around Cornhill when it should have been closed off.

The area was shut at around 4.45pm last night after a 20ft metal section of Debenham's roof was ripped from the building and left hanging off.

Police officers, fire crews and council officers ensured nobody could get close to the danger zone but the all clear was not given until close to 10am this morning after contractors were able to get onto the roof.

Despite this dozens of people were able to wander through the danger area for more than three hours this morning and a number of market traders set up stall.

A spokesman for Suffolk police said the situation was caused by “irresponsible” members of the public repeatedly moving barriers from around 6.30am leading to other people not realising they were walking into potential hazard.

The spokesman said: “There was an ongoing health and safety issue as engineers had been unable to look at the roof until this morning because it was too dangerous to go up last night.

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“It was pure stupidity that members of the public moved the barriers and put other people at risk who would not have realised the area was cordoned off.”

“People need to be sensible in this kind of situation.”

Police officers were called to Cornhill as early as 6.30am to put barriers back in place following reports they had been moved aside.

Officers were forced to return to the scene later following further reports of barriers being moved.

One victim of the confusion was market trader Nigel Parker.

He decided not to set up stall after being advised by police at 6.30am that there was a health and safety issue.

“We heard later that the barriers had been moved so we started setting up at about 8.30am,” he said.

Were you caught out by the confusion? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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