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Stay off roofs and out of the river

A warning has been issued after teenagers were spotted by CCTV on a town centre roof where the structure has become unsafe.

CCTV has captured images of some on the old court house next to the library in Boston (below).

The group is suspected of climbing onto the roof areas and parapets of this building, where the roof structure and adjoining brickwork is unsafe and has become loose as a result of this.

Insp Andy Morrice, Boston's Community Inspector, said: "There is  an imminent danger that if this brickwork is dislodged in future it will result in injury to themselves or even worse if someone falls from the parapet.

"I can understand youngsters during the long summer break wanting to find somewhere to chill with their friends - I was young myself once! But rooftops are not the right places for several reasons. For one they may be trespassing and could be in trouble if inadvertently damage was caused. But I am much more concerned about the potential risk they place themselves in.

"It need only a moment's inattention, a second of play acting, and the consequences can be dreadful."

Peter Hunn, Boston Borough Council's Community Safety Manager, sounded a similar warning about swimming in the river.

"I don't want to be a killjoy, but every year people die in open water because they have gone in unprepared for the dangers they face. There are a host of hidden dangers which could end in tragedy. If it's hot and you want to cool off, go to a swimming pool where it's safe," he said.

Cllr Paul Skinner, Boston Borough Council's portfolio holder for community safety, said he was horrified by social media footage of children and adults hurling themselves into the tidal Haven from the town bridge.

He said: "Every year there are incidents in which people are killed and receive serious injuries, including life-changing paralysis,  diving or jumping into open water. The Haven is a tidal stretch of river carrying silt so you cannot see what lurks beneath. Because it is tidal there is no knowing what may be carried in on the tide at any given moment. The tide runs at quite a speed, so anyone getting into difficulty would very quickly be in serious trouble, especially if they have struck underwater debris. The town bridge is not the place for diving and the Haven is not the place for swimming, no matter how good a swimmer you might be. There is also the added risk of water-borne contaminants which could make you very ill. Please use the swimming pool where the water is warm, clean and free of debris."

Despite prolonged periods of hot weather rivers, drains, ponds, lakes and open water seldom get warm in this country. The effects of immersion in cold water can overcome even the fittest and strongest of swimmers.

Cold water quickly saps stamina and strength and if a swimmer is a long way out from the bank they can quickly be in serious difficulty. Drowning is the third most common cause of accidental death among the under-16s.

Objects under the water which may be unseen from the riverbank can entrap or injure swimmers.

Boats regularly manoeuvre in the Grand Sluice and Anton's Gowt area. There is a real danger of becoming entangled in propellers or even being caught in the wash of a boat and dragged under by the displacement of the water created by the boats' movement.

One of the biggest problems in this area is presented by the lock gates, a regular place where children and adults swim in Boston. The gates operate on an automated system. No warning is given prior to the gates operating. Anyone swimming in this area when this process is commencing will be drawn through the gates and washed down river.

Other health hazards include ecoli, Weils Disease and even asthma and eczema.

Swimming is also prohibited in these areas and those caught may be liable to a £100 fine.

Can you help identify any of these youngsters seen by CCTV on the old court house roof? Police want to speak to them to sound a warning before someone is badly injured or killed. Please pass on any information via the 101 telephone number. It will be dealt with in confidence.

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