POLICE officers prevented a potential tragedy over the weekend after finding five boys playing on a frozen pond.

The youngsters, aged between eight and 12, were seen by members of the New Mills and Hayfield Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) playing on the pond, which was on private land off Bridge Street in New Mills, on Saturday.

Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) Lee Baker of the Safer Neighbourhood Team said: “We took the youngsters home to their parents and spoke to them about both the safety risks of playing around icy water and also the consequences of trespassing on private land.

“We cannot stress enough just how dangerous it is to walk or go onto a frozen pond as while it might look safe, the ice could be very thin. You could also get into trouble very quickly in freezing water.”

Officers from the team will be visiting schools over the next few weeks to speak to pupils about the dangers of frozen ponds and icy water and also reminding them not to stray onto private land.

PCSO Baker added: “Please make sure that your children are aware of the dangers and find out where they could be playing.

“The last thing that anyone wants is for a youngster to get hurt or to lose their life as a result of playing around frozen ponds or lakes. I would urge people to keep safe and make sure they stay well away from them.”

The plummeting temperatures and heavy snow caused chaos over the weekend, not least on the roads where driving conditions were treacherous.

Many main routes were closed, including the A537 Cat and Fiddle and the A57 Snake Pass, while conditions on other High Peak roads were incredibly difficult.

Ice has been a particular problem and with the cold snap set to continue over the next few days, Derbyshire County Council is urging motorists to take care and make sure they are fully prepared for their journey.

What to do in the big freeze – see page 15.