Police drive to curb dangerous diving into River Gipping at Bramford and Sproughton
PUBLISHED: 16:09 10 August 2017 | UPDATED: 16:09 10 August 2017
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Police have upped patrols in key areas of the River Gipping in Bramford and Sproughton after reports that people have been putting themselves at risk diving into the river.
In June, residents in Tattingstone reported that people had been diving off Lemons Hill Bridge into Alton Water, despite signs in the area warning of the dangers.
In June 2015, 22-year-old Matthew Dunnett died after tombstoning off the bridge and falling into difficulty in the water, prompting additional warnings to be put in place on the bridge.
Now, a recent police report has revealed that officers have been called to areas in Bramford and Sproughton where people have been reported jumping into the River Gipping over recent weeks.
Officers have said people are putting their lives at risk with the hidden dangers.
Inspector Kevin Horton said: “Whilst we appreciate that jumping into water in hot weather can be very tempting to cool down, it poses a significant danger and we would urge people to heed the warning signs that are in pace for their own safety.
“The unseen hazards make this very dangerous, with rubbish, weeds and pollution often camouflaging the depth making it difficult to judge.
“We have received a handful of calls in recent weeks reporting concern for safety and we would like to remind people that this is an avoidable risk.”
Matthew Dunnett’s sister Zena Williams joined with Anglian Water and Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service to back a national campaign urging people not to dive in open water spaces earlier this year.
Suffolk Fire and Rescue’s deputy chief fire officer Dan Fearn said: “I cannot emphasise enough the dangers people face if they jump from a bridge into water.
“There is no way of knowing what obstacles lie beneath the water line and depths may change suddenly from very shallow to very deep water. There are also factors like cold water shock and fatigue that can affect anyone, even strong swimmers.
“We of course want people to have fun and enjoy Suffolk’s beautiful countryside, but would encourage you to consider the potential dangers of open water.”
Police urged parents to educate their children on the dangers, and added that officers would be providing patrols to stop anyone acting unsafely.