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Police Called to Tombstoning in Scarborough

Police Called to Tombstoning in Scarborough

Published by Matthew Pells at 11:25am 27th June 2020. (Updated at 11:27am 27th June 2020)

Scarborough Police and the Coastguard were called out multiple times to West Pier in Scarborough on Friday night in relation to groups of youths being seen to jump in to the sea from the West Pier.

The Police also attended reports of a high number of people attending a beach party on the North Bay.

The North Yorkshire Force say not only is the pier jumping dangerous to those involved but also has an adverse effect on the harbour traffic as all boats have to be stopped when there are people in and around the mouth of the harbour. Officers say that he group involved were dispersed and body worn video was used to capture evidence in relation to the incident.

They are calling on parents to help pass the message to their children that If they want to spend time in the sea, they should do so from the beach.

The incidents come after an increase in reports of people jumping in to water during the hot weather.

At around 3pm on Thursday (25 June), emergency services were alerted to Thomason Foss near Goathland after a 22-year-old man from Yarm suffered serious injuries when he jumped into the water. He was taken to hospital by air ambulance.

North Yorkshire Police says it is working with the North York Moors National Park Authority to warn against the dangers at this location following recent incidents.

In the Scarborough, Filey and Whitby areas, police say there is an emerging issue of young people jumping into the sea from harbour walls and piers – often referred to as “tombstoning”.

A multi-agency approach to tackle this problem has been established, with Scarborough Borough Council’s Beach Superintendents tasked with monitoring and engaging with those who appear to be taking part in this highly dangerous activity.

Police officers and Coastguards will be on hand to intervene and take action if required.

Chief Inspector Rachel Wood, Operations Commander for Scarborough and Ryedale, said:

“Tombstoning is an extremely dangerous thing to do and has cost people their lives in the past.

Sadly, such tragedies will happen again in the future if people – often having been drinking alcohol – continue to take such unnecessary risks at our coastal and countryside areas.

Our partnership approach to this issue is designed to keep people safe from harm and to do everything we can to prevent serious and even fatal incidents occurring.

For this to be successful we need the co-operation of the public to be sensible in the first place, and for people to report any concerning behaviour to the police as soon as possible.”

Concerned residents or businesses should report incidents to North Yorkshire Police on 101, select option 1, and speak to the Force Control Room.

North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service lead on water safety in the county and they provide the following advice about the dangers …

Alcohol and bathing

Alcohol causes loss of coordination and slows reaction times, as well as reducing the body’s core temperature and increasing the susceptibility to cold.

Temperature shock

Even during warm weather, temperatures in open waters are dangerously low. This can affect even strong swimmers, causing loss of strength and muscle coordination. Prolonged exposure to cold can cause hypothermia, inducing mental confusion and irrational behaviour.

Waterborne diseases

Open water used by animals can carry diseases such as Leptospirosis (Weil’s disease), which has flu-like symptoms and can be fatal.

Submerged dangers

Murky or fast-flowing water can conceal hazards such as rocks or discarded rubbish. Jumping in can be deadly.


Underwater plants can wrap around bathers, leading to breathing difficulties and panic.

Water currents

The water may look calm on the surface, but there can be strong undercurrents that could pull even a strong swimmer under the water.

Just 15cm of fast flowing water can knock an adult off their feet. Deeper water with fast currents is extremely hazardous.

Bathers are advised to:

  • Only use venues designed for open-air bathing
  • Pay attention to all warning signs
  • Never let older children swim in unsupervised areas like quarries, canals or ponds
  • Never interfere with lifesaving equipment – you might need it yourself

If you see someone in difficulty:

  • Shout for help and dial 999 and ask for the Fire Service at inland water sites or the Coast Guard if you’re at the beach
  • Reach with a long stick, a scarf, clothes or anything else. Crouch or lie down to avoid being pulled in
  • Throw, a rope is best – you can then pull in the person. Otherwise throw something that will float – a ball, a plastic bottle or a lifebuoy
  • Do not jump in to try to save them

More information, including water safety videos, are available from the North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service web page.


There is 1 comment on this page.

Zooks, on 27th June 2020 11:47am
It doesn't matter how many times you tell these idiots about the dangers involved or how many lists of the risks involved you publish they will still carry on with this unbelievably stupid pursuit. They will not understand until one of the little darlings either breaks something or drowns so let them carry on - after all they know best don't they? Having lived in Scarborough for over 30 years now I don't actually recall any reports of injuries caused by this but I will happily be corrected.

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