Safety warning after children use life saving rings as toys in Norwich river on hottest day of the year

Lifebuoys were removed from the River Wensum in Norwich. Picture Jo Clarke.

Lifebuoys were removed from the River Wensum in Norwich. Picture Jo Clarke. - Credit: Lifebuoys

People have been reminded that lifesaving equipment should not be played with after children removed a number of lifebuoys in Norwich on the hottest day of the year.

Lifebuoys were removed from the River Wensum in Norwich. Picture Jo Clarke.

Lifebuoys were removed from the River Wensum in Norwich. Picture Jo Clarke. - Credit: Lifebuoys

Temperatures peaked at 22C in the county on Sunday and many people spent the day making the most of the Spring sunshine.

One of those was Jo Clarke who took an afternoon stroll along the River Wensum from Hellesdon Mill to Anderson's Meadow and was left 'gobsmacked' by what she saw.

'There was about half a dozen children playing in the water occupied by adults and as I continued walking I saw about three lifebuoys in the water,' she said. 'My first thought was that they were out of use if those children needed them. But I then saw the children run past me, shouting that they wanted another ring and I realised it was the children who were using them.'

Mrs Clarke followed the children along the river and over the bridge and when they removed another lifebuoy she challenged them about what they were doing.

Lifebuoys were removed from the River Wensum in Norwich. Picture Jo Clarke.

Lifebuoys were removed from the River Wensum in Norwich. Picture Jo Clarke. - Credit: Lifebuoys

'I told them to put it back as they are used to safe people's lives and they laughed at me and ran off.'

Norwich City Council have 66 lifebuoy stations across the city which are checked weekly during school holidays and every two weeks during school term time. Often they find that lifebuoys have been removed or vandalised.

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They are designed to be thrown to a person in the water, to provide buoyancy and prevent drowning and are usually orange.

The council said they were not aware of this incident but they are addressing it as a matter of urgency.

Lifebuoys were removed from the River Wensum in Norwich. Picture Jo Clarke.

Lifebuoys were removed from the River Wensum in Norwich. Picture Jo Clarke. - Credit: Lifebuoys

A spokesperson said: 'Lifebuoys are for use in an emergency and should never be used for leisure.

'We would urge anyone who sees a lifebuoy being misused or notices one missing from a station to help by reporting it to us immediately.'

Mrs Clarke said her main concern was the orange rings would not be there for people really in danger.

She added: 'With the weather getting better and the things that have happened in the sea and waters in the county I think it is awful that people have such little respect for life saving equipment and just throw it in the water.

'It could be that someone needed one of those buoys that day and they would not have been there.'

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