Tombstoning teen craze could kill

TEENAGERS are risking their lives by taking up the craze of 'tombstoning' from rocks at a Portishead beach. The youngsters have been jumping from

TEENAGERS are risking their lives by taking up the craze of 'tombstoning' from rocks at a Portishead beach.The youngsters have been jumping from the rocks at Sugar Loaf Bay into the sea below.But local residents say the teens are dicing with death because of rocks lying in the waters below which are covered by the sea at high tide.The concerns were raised by beach users at a meeting of Portishead and North Weston Town Council on Wednesday night.Paul Maltby, of South Road, said: "There did used to be a diving board at Sugar Loaf Bay but this was removed."Now the youngsters have taken to jumping off the rocks into the water below."What they don't realise is that there is a very big rock in the water and it is covered by the tide."If anyone was to jump and land on that they would be very badly injured if not killed."The council cannot stop the youngsters tombstoning but I think consideration needs to be given to either try and remove the rock or at least put up a warning sign that it exists and for people to be careful."Something needs to be done to prevent nasty accidents happening in the future."A number of teenagers have been badly injured or killed in tombstoning incidents along the south west coast.The Royal Society of the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has been warning young people about the dangers of getting involved in this latest thrill seekers' craze.The safety watchdog warned that the constantly changing currents, sea depths and hidden rocks mean the practice is dangerous even for people who know the area well. A spokesman for the society said: "We can see the attraction of 'tombstoning' and why people do it. "But because of the nature of jumping from height into the water, particularly at coastal locations, it is extremely hazardous. There are a myriad of risks and it is likely that many people do not stop to assess the risks before jumping. We would urge people to think carefully in advance. "There is a particular need for risk awareness among teenagers."Coast ward councillor David Pasley said he was very concerned that young people in the town were risking their lives jumping into the waters below.Councillor Pasley said: "I have been in touch with North Somerset and it has been agreed that a sign warning of the dangers of jumping off the rocks will be put up very shortly."I have also spoken to the coastguard who have said when they are in the area at high water and see young people on the rocks they will speak to them about the dangers of tombstoning.

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