Stern warning issued over tombstoning at Rhoose Point

Visitors to Rhoose Point are being warned that they risk death, serious injury and fines of up to £500 if they jump off ledges into the water of the old quarry area below.

Groups of young people have been gathering at the site during the spell of recent warm weather, with some engaging in tombstoning – the act of leaping into water from a significant height.

People have died, been paralysed, shattered bones and suffered other life-changing injuries as a result of this activity.

A local man remains paralysed after breaking his back during a tombstoning incident at Rhoose Point just a few years ago and there have been a number of deaths at Cosmeston Lakes, another former quarry area, after people indulged in similar activities, which are now prohibited.

Miles Punter, Vale of Glamorgan Council Director of Environment and Housing Services, said:  “Aside from the danger posed by rocks protruding from uneven walls of the quarry, hazards lurk beneath the water surface, including machinery from the site’s industrial past, while the cold water can also cause people difficulty.

“We are particularly keen to encourage the parents of the young people involved to keep their children safe by ensuring they instead use Vale beaches where there is lifeguard cover.

“The aim is not to spoil anybody’s fun, but to keep people safe by protecting them from very real dangers. Swimming and jumping into former quarry areas is recognised by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) as being inherently dangerous with many young people losing their lives in the UK over recent years. We are attempting to take action before somebody is either killed or seriously injured.”

Byelaws governing the site prohibit swimming and anyone found to have entered the water could face criminal prosecution or be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice.

Council enforcement agents, the police, the Coastguard and Fire Service will also be looking to crack down on any anti-social behaviour in the area, with penalties such as Anti-social Behaviour Orders a possibility for such offences.

PS Mark John, Community Safety Sergeant for the Vale of Glamorgan, said: “Tombstoning, as it’s become commonly known, may seem like a bit of fun but it is in fact highly irresponsible. It is extremely dangerous and has resulted in a number of fatalities around the country.

“To take part in such activities can not only endanger the participant but can also put other people at peril including bystanders and the emergency services.

“The byelaws in place at the Rhoose Point quarry are there for a reason, and we will be working with our colleagues throughout the summer to ensure they are abided by.”

Fences have been erected in an effort to prevent people from reaching elevated ledges of the quarry, though the Council stresses its aim is not to discourage everyone from attending the area.

Those wishing to walk along the coastal path that stretches through the area or enjoy what is a picturesque location are welcome to visit, and we hope combating the problem outlined above will make it a more attractive destination for them.

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Nathan Spackman

Nathan is the Operations Director at Bro Radio. You'll hear him reading local news, hosting at local events and presenting our facebook live videos.