South Holland youngsters risking life and limb to swim in rivers

Youngsters are leaping from this bridge into the River Glen at Surfleet. SG280617-107TW
Youngsters are leaping from this bridge into the River Glen at Surfleet. SG280617-107TW

Youngsters are putting their lives on the line or risking serious injury to swim in South Holland’s rivers.

Some leap from the A16 road bridge over the River Glen to land in the water many feet below. And police were alerted when eight young boys were seen under the Cross Keys swing bridge, on the River Nene at Sutton Bridge.

A rope hangs from the railings of the A16 road bridge over the River Glen at Surfleet. SG280617-102TW

A rope hangs from the railings of the A16 road bridge over the River Glen at Surfleet. SG280617-102TW

A driver told us: “I have seen on at least three occasions boys jumping into the river off the bridge by the A16. There have been warnings by the police not to jump into the river but they are blatantly ignoring it.

“It must be some height they are jumping from. It might seem like fun at the time but I’m worried they could seriously injure themselves. It only takes a split second for something to happen.”

A Surfleet resident says police have spoken to youngsters but they still jump in, presumably because they are doing nothing illegal, and they are continuing a practice that’s gone on in local families for generations.

He understands youngsters now post lookouts to try to avoid the risk of anyone hitting a boat when they jump but he still worries for their safety.

I encourage parents to talk to their children about these dangers ...

Police Insp Gareth Boxall

Sutton Bridge Parish Council heard on Tuesday that police were called to an incident under Cross Keys Bridge, where eight boys were seen removing clothing to prepare for a swim.

But Sutton Bridge resident Jenny Rowe told the Spalding Guardian: “There was a group of youngsters under the bridge for about 20 minutes the other night. We did watch them but I have to say they were causing no problem and we did not see any of them take a swim. That would not be a particularly safe thing to do in this river.”

Spalding-based police inspector Gareth Boxall told us: “It may seem like fun, but rivers are colder than expected even on hot days; you don’t know how deep the river is or what is in that water and the rivers are also used by boats passing under bridges.

“All of these dangers pose a significant risk to those jumping in. I encourage parents to talk to their children about these dangers, know where your children are and challenge them if they return home with wet clothing.”

A Lincolnshire Police spokesman said: “During hot spells people may be tempted to jump into lakes or rivers but we would like to remind people of the dangers of swimming in open water.

“There are obvious dangers such as hitting rocks or hidden debris and it can also be difficult to judge depths of water, meaning people can get into difficulty.

“Even the strongest swimmers can get into trouble – there are also hidden complications such as shock after sudden immersion in cold water and risks such as underwater currents – so please bear this in mind if you’re tempted to swim in open water. Stay safe and please enjoy our county’s lakes and rivers from dry land.”

• Email your views to lynne.harrison@iliffepublishing.co.uk