Parking crackdown launched at Bawsey Pits, near King’s Lynn, where Umar Ballogen and Ryan Pettengell drowned
- Credit: Archant
A summer parking crackdown has been launched around a beauty spot where two men drowned.
Umar Ballogen, 16, from North London and Ryan Pettengell, 41, from King's Lynn drowned on the same afternoon in Bawsey Pits, in July 2013.
But while their deaths highlighted the dangers of swimming in Norfolk's numerous former quarries, people have since continued to ignore the warning signs and take to the water.
The site was packed as temperatures soared on Sunday, April 9. Hundreds of cars were parked on grass verges along the B1145, which runs past the lakes, obstructing the road. There have been several fatal accidents around the so-called Bawsey Bumps a few hundred yards east of the site.
While far fewer were visiting Bawsey in today's cooler weather, enforcement officers were handing out fixed penalty tickets.
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Drivers parking along the road and in the former entrance to the pits, now closed off by locked gates, were given fines of £70, which could be reduced to £35 if paid within 14 days. Police said the road had been declared a clearway - meaning parking was prohibited - because of a number of issues caused by people visiting the pits in the summer months.
Responsibility for enforcing it lies with West Norfolk council.
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Both Mr Ballogen and Mr Pettengell ignored the prominent No Swimming signs around the flooded former gravel workings before getting into difficulty in deep, weedy water, the inquests into their deaths later heard.
Carers looking after Mr Ballogen, who was staying at a home for young people in Cambridge at the time, were later cleared of negligence over his death.
But the company that employed them, Castle Homes, was fined £80,000 and ordered to pay £20,000 costs by an Old Bailey judge, after it admitted breaching its duty of care towards him.
The pits had been plagued with anti-social behaviour before the deaths. In October 2015, West Norfolk businessman Stephen Bacon said he had bought the site and hoped to restore a former station and open a cafe and toilets at the site.
More than 600 people responded to a public consultation after the drownings, with the majority saying they wanted a new lease of life for the pits.