‘Tombstoning’ craze danger warning

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Police and safety campaigners have issued a stark warning on the dangers of ‘tombstoning’ in the area’s quarries this summer.

The Buxton area has seen a number of incidents recently and the authorities are at pains to dissuade anyone thinking of trying it from doing so.

The practice originated in coastal regions where daredevils would jump off cliffs into the sea but is increasingly seen in inland areas and quarries are seen as a prime target.

Denis Murphy, Safer Neighbourhood Team Sergeant with Derbyshire Police, said: “This is something which we have become increasingly concerned with recently.

“It is an incredibly dangerous activity.”

Sergeant Murphy said many of the young people he meets cannot see that what they are doing is wrong.

“They just seem to display a really blasé attitude and say they’ll be fine as long as they have their mobile phones with them.

“At that point I usually say that mobile phones don’t work in 150 feet of water.”

But if Sergeant Murphy finds the attitude of the young people difficult to understand, what he finds even more worrying is the attitude of some of their parents.

“Some parents have even been dropping their children off at the quarries and asking security guards to keep an eye out for them.”

Because of the problems the area has seen in recent years, Sergeant Murphy and his team have been working with the Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service to bring the message directly to local young people by visiting schools to warn them of the dangers.

Sergeant Murphy says the message is simple: “If you want to do something like this go to a properly supervised pool.

“In a quarry you just simply do not know what lies beneath the water.”

David Walker, leisure safety manager at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), agrees: “Last year around the UK some 14 people drowned following a jump into water and each year we see serious and disabling injuries resulting from hitting often hidden objects in the water.

“The best way to learn about the risks and have a good experience is to try coasteering - a mix of scrambling, climbing, traversing and cliff jumping around the coast with a professional guide.”

Trade association the Mineral Product Association has produced guidance on the dangers of quarries which can be downloaded from their website at www.mineralproducts.org.