Life ring theft could lead to tragic consequences

Town councillors Tony Upson and Shirley Gilliver-Cooper at Hemsworth Waterparkafter vandalism to the life rings
Town councillors Tony Upson and Shirley Gilliver-Cooper at Hemsworth Waterparkafter vandalism to the life rings
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VANDALS and thieves who target life rings at Hemsworth Water Park could have a death on their consciences, a town councillor has warned.

Hemsworth Town Council chairman Coun Tony Upson said several of the life rings at the park had gone missing or been vandalised in the past month.

Three people died at the site back in December 1995. Off- duty fire officer Mick Mee, 48, heard cries for help as 11-year-old Tracey Pattison plunged through the ice at Hemsworth park after trying to save a friend’s pet dog.

They died along with fireplace maker Jack Crawshaw, 51, of Wakefield, as they fell through the inch-thick ice.

And Coun Upson fears that should the safety devices be missing when they are needed, the consequences could once again be tragic.

He said: “We have had fatalities at the Water Park in the past and we never want to see that again.

“They are just not thinking. It may be a laugh to those that are doing it but it’s the consequences that they would have to live with forever if anything was to happen.”

Coun Upson added that vandals had also caused damage to the roof at the Lakeside Cafe, at the site, leading councillors to fork out £12,000 in repairs.

He added: “This vandalism is costing the community of Hemsworth a lot of money but taking the life rings is just careless and they’re not thinking of the consequences.”

Inspector Geoff Carter, of the South East neighbourhood policing team (NPT), said: “The equipment has been placed there for a specific reason - for the safety and well-being of all members of the community.

“I would encourage people to report all such incidents to the police and encourage people to think of the consequences of their actions.”

Insp Carter added that the NPT would be stepping up patrols in the area to try and find those responsible.