Youngsters dice with death on a jump they call the ‘psycho’

Youths ignore the dangers of swimming in Appley Bridge Quarry, Wigan
Youths ignore the dangers of swimming in Appley Bridge Quarry, Wigan

Youngsters who flout warnings to swim in a deadly water-filled quarry challenge themselves to a potentially lethal jump called the “psycho.”

A PCSO who has patrolled and been called to the Appley Bridge death trap on numerous occasions during the warm summer months, says the game is an accident waiting to happen.

In terms of swimming, there is a jump which the kids call ‘psycho’ on the internet which is about 40 or 50ft drop and if they misjudge or mistime that they will hit the rock face. Then they are knocked out and in the water

PCSO Dave Bentham

Dave Benson adds that valuable police resources are being taken away from crime-cracking activities in order to minimise the risk to young people who still insist on trespassing and swimming at the illicit site.

Lancashire’s force helicopter has also been out on several occasions to warm the groups off which, PCSO Benson says, can sometimes number more than 40 a day.

His fears were voiced as the Local Government Association put pressure on the Government to extend its national campaign warning children of the dangers of “tombstoning” - jumping from a height into open water when there could be hidden hazards under the surface.

The issue relates mainly to coastal areas, but inland waters also apply.

The Appley Bridge quarry has claimed two teenaged boys’ lives in the last 25 years, more recently 13-year-old Miracle Godson from Marsh Green.

PCSO Benson said: “One of the main issues for us is we face the same problems as they do getting in. It is a struggle to gain access for anyone, and then the ambulance crew have to carry their life saving equipment. We have to scale the 6ft fences and the barbed wire. It will take time for us to get access. That’s one of the things we tell people trying to get in - can you think of how we are going to get in quickly in time to save your life?

“In terms of swimming, there is a jump which the kids call ‘psycho’ on the internet which is about 40 or 50ft drop and if they misjudge or mistime that they will hit the rock face. Then they are knocked out and in the water.

“The surface water may also feel very warm on a sunny day but if you reach five or 10ft under the surface, the water is extremely cold and can cause shock and cardiac arrest.

“If I wasn’t at the quarry I would be contacting victims of crime to provide reassurance and doing what I can to support my colleagues. We have had incidents where my colleagues have been pulled away from an emergency to remove young people from the quarry who shouldn’t even be there.”