Bawsey Pits swimmers are ‘a safety risk’

People paddling in the water and sunbathing at Bawsey Pits. ANL-160721-100709001
People paddling in the water and sunbathing at Bawsey Pits. ANL-160721-100709001
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As the country enjoys its hottest weather of the year this week, many people have been attracted to Bawsey Pits to cool down.

But concerned members of the public feel that a percentage of these people have been ignoring the safety warnings that come with the area.

One such person, who asked to remain anonymous, said that on a recent family trip to Bawsey: “In the 50 minutes or so we were there we must have seen at least 40 people in the water, not only paddling but swimming to what would have been considerable depths.

“I can’t help but think another tragedy is just around the corner with such blatant abuse of the rules.”

It comes following the deaths of two people at the pits in 2013, where a 41-year-old man and a 16-year-old boy both drowned in the water.

There is a complete ban on swimming at the site and there are notices surrounding the pits warning of these dangers.

Despite these signs, on a visit to the pits on Monday evening as the summer weather finally made a show, many locals were out sunbathing, and a number of them were actually in the water, too.

After asking a few of the people there, who did not give their surnames, whether they would swim in the water there in spite of safety warnings there were mixed reactions.

Alex, from Wisbech, said: “Yes I would swim in the water because I’m a good swimmer, but it wouldn’t be a good idea for people who aren’t because the water is really deep.”

Jaroslav, from Lynn, said: “No I wouldn’t swim in the water because it’s quite oily and I wouldn’t feel safe.”

Businessman Stephen Bacon has owned Bawsey Pits since he bought the park from Sibelco in October last year, and has since expressed his plans to restore a railway line at the site.

Mr Bacon had not responded to a request for comment at the time of going to press.

North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham said: “I know Stephen well and I know he feels strongly about this issue, he wants to make sure that Bawsey is as safe as possible.

“I would urge people to be even more careful and sensible at Bawsey, it may look incredibly inticing and inviting but dangers lurk and it is much colder than it may appear.

“Bawsey Pits is a great local resource, we need to make the most of it but make sure that it is not a magnet for danger.”

Another issue which has arisen off of the back of a mass of visitors at the pits is parking. On Monday and Wednesday Lynn Police tweeted that no-waiting cones placed by the entrance to the park on the B1145 had been moved, so that cars could stop there.

On Wednesday, a post on its Twitter account said: “We’re trying to prevent incidents, allowing traffic to flow safely on this busy stretch.”