6th July 2020

In_pictures Hundreds risk ‘leaving in body bag’ for beauty spot swim

In_pictures Hundreds risk ‘leaving in body bag’ for beauty spot swim


in_pictures Groups swimming in the reservoirImage copyright
Canal and River Trust

Image caption

The Canal & River Trust expressed concerns about social distancing

Young people flocking to a reservoir during sunny weather are at risk of “leaving in a body bag”, a charity has warned.

The Canal & River Trust said groups of up to 400 people had been seen at Saddington Reservoir in Leicestershire.

Its remote location and hidden hazards made it unsuitable for swimming, said Adrian Lole from the trust.

He said visitors had ignored social distancing and left the site looking like “Glastonbury on a bad day”.

“It’s almost like a festival… with no adult taking responsibility and by water,” he said.

“If there’s an accident, the only way they are going to leave is in a body bag.”

In_pictures Three-hour clean up

Mr Lole said hundreds of visitors, mostly teenagers and people in their early 20s, had been crammed into a space equivalent to a third of a football pitch.

“Everyone got excited about Bournemouth beach but they were relatively socially distanced compared to here,” he said.

“You would have found it hard to put a slip of paper between the 400 people. It has made me disappointed.”

Mr Lole believes drinking and drug-taking was common at the site.

Clearing the site of litter took up to three hours every day, he said, adding that clean-up teams had found abandoned inflatables, broken bottles and even human faeces.

Image copyright
Canal and River Trust

Image caption

Mr Lole said it takes a team about three hours to clear up every morning

Residents have also expressed concern about safety, the amount of litter left behind and potential spread of coronavirus after pictures appeared on social media.

Emily Chessell, a resident of nearby Fleckney, struggled to get past dozens of parked cars as she tried to drive past.

She said: “I don’t see the harm in young people having a good time, but with the current situation this is very extreme and the disrespect for their surroundings is awful.”

Alice Green, from nearby Market Harborough, said: “It’s an accident or death waiting to happen when emergency services can’t get through.”

Leicestershire Police said they have visited “several times” and are having a meeting next week with the trust about the situation.

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