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Safety equipment at Shotton Pond locked away due to anti-social behaviour

Nov 15, 2022 | Local News

Access to vital water safety equipment at a community pond in County Durham is being put at risk due to incidents of anti-social behaviour.

Durham County Council highlighted the issue to partners at a recent Safer and Stronger Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting.

Members heard about several incidences of anti-social behaviour at Shotton Pond, where buoyancy aids stationed around the water have been damaged, and in some instances burned, so that they cannot be deployed.

A total of 81 reports of the items being damaged or missing have been recorded since 2019, with 44 of these occurring within the last year.

To prevent further damage to the water aids, the authority has worked with County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service (CDDFRS) to install metal locked cabinets. However one cabinet has already been broken into and the contents destroyed.

Cllr John Shuttleworth, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for rural communities, highways and community safety, and chair of the Combined Fire Authority for County Durham and Darlington, said: “As a council we have a commitment to keeping our waterways safe, however these repeated acts of vandalism are putting the community at risk.

“The buoyancy aids at Shotton Pond have already proved to be a vital piece of equipment, having been used in the past to rescue someone who had got into difficulty in the water.

“We are incredibly disappointed that the situation has got to a point where we have had to put measures in place to restrict access to the equipment and protect it from being damaged.”

Sarah Litt, community safety team leader at CDDFRS, said: “Safety is a priority, and we are committed to working with our partners to affect any measures to help keep people safe. This equipment is there for emergency situations and to see it getting vandalised and destroyed is extremely disappointing.

 

“Not only are the buoyancy aids of great importance, but the what3words quote location will allow our control room operators to know the precise location of an incident.

“If you don’t have the what3words app on your phone, we would like to encourage you to download it. This means that if you were ever to come into difficulties either around the water or in a remote location, we would be able to pinpoint your location immediately.

“It is also extremely important that we keep reminding the public about the dangers of water and how to stay safe near water, and we will continue to work closely with our partners to do so.”