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Anger as life-belts are thrown into River Ouse in York
MINDLESS yobs who threw three lifebelts into the Ouse have been condemned by police and the mother of a York barman who drowned in the river.
The three rings were found floating near York’s Millennium Bridge on Sunday evening by dog-walker Helen England, of Fulford, who said they appeared to have been thrown in together.
Vicki Horrocks, who backed The Press’ Think Don’t Swim river safety campaign after her son Richard died after jumping into the river in July 2011, said that two years later, the safety message still needed to be pushed.
“The good work of supportive people is being trashed by the insensitive acts of the minority,” she said.
A spokesman for North Yorkshire Police said: “Whoever is responsible for this mindless and unnecessary act is effectively putting lives at risk.”
He said lifebelts were there for the sole reason of helping people who got into danger in the water. “Misusing them in this manner is completely reckless,” he said, “If you see anyone using lifebelts for any other reason than helping someone in trouble, please contact the police on 101.”
Dave Dryburgh, York group manager for North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service, said: ‘If these items of safety equipment have been deliberately thrown in the river then those involved need to stop and think that they could be directly linked to a real person, who could be a member of their own family, losing their life.”
He said the rings may have been thrown in maliciously or in a spirit of high jinks, but the outcome could be the same either way. “Somebody could be responsible for the loss of a life, that they will have to live with for the rest of their life, for one minute’s stupidity.”
Coun Linsay Cunningham-Cross, City of York Council cabinet member for crime and stronger communities, said she had herself seen life-rings thrown in the river at Clifton Backies in the past, and such behaviour was completely unacceptable, as it risked the lives of anyone in the water. She added that if the council had been informed, it would remove the rings from the river and put them back in place on the bankside.
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