Police warning to stay out of Wigan quarry

A photo taken by officers shows large numbers of trespassers congregating at the dangerous site.

Thursday, 17th June 2021, 9:40 am

Lancashire Police posted alarming pictures showing large numbers of young people dicing with death by swimming and jumping into the water at East Quarry in Appley Bridge this weekend.

Officers are highlighting the considerable dangers from going to the site and are pleading with the public to ensure there is no repeat of the scenes on Saturday and Sunday.

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A photo taken by Lancashire Police of young people at East Quarry in Appley Bridge

There have been two high-profile deaths in the quarry over the years while people who have been seriously injured have also urged people to learn the lessons from their experiences.

Lancashire Police said there is industrial piping and other equipment hidden below the surface of the water in the quarry.

Potential swimmers were also warned that the temperature change of jumping into cold water when the body is hot can trigger a gasp response, causing someone to drown within seconds of going for a dip.

Police are also alarmed by the fact young people were seen drinking alcohol at the quarry, saying this causes dehydration and slows reactions down further.

In correspondence raising awareness of the situation, Lancashire Police said: “This weekend we saw hundreds of young people putting their lives at risk – as shown by this photo we took.

“We know the nice weather makes it appealing to cool down in the quarry but are they aware of the dangers?

“We know young people want to enjoy themselves, but we are appealing to parents because we care.

“We don’t want to be the officers calling at your address to pass on the awful news that something terrible has happened to your child.”

Last weekend police issued dispersal orders amid concerns about anti-social behaviour for local residents and confiscated a large pile of items including alcohol and trainers. Several parking tickets were issued and people at the quarry were searched for drugs.

Police said a vehicle had also been damaged while officers were attending the scene.

Concerns have regularly been aired about young people putting themselves in peril by going for a cooling dip at the quarry, particularly during summer heatwaves.

However, the future of the site has also been the focus of fierce local debate.

The owner of East Quarry, Peter O’Dowd of Maybrook Investments, has expressed his intention to drain the site before filling it in with materials such as soil and concrete.

These plans, however, are implacably opposed by a group of Appley Bridge residents living nearby. They say draining the quarry could make it a magnet for climbing or off-road biking instead and are against houses being built there in the future.

There have been two incidents of people going in the water at East Quarry which have ended in tragedy.

In 2015 promising young rugby league player Miracle Godson (pictured above), 13, died while swimming with friends there.

He jumped from a ledge after a number of other youngsters did the same but got into difficulties in the cold water and died.

That tragedy brought back memories of the death of 17-year-old Craig Croston, from Platt Bridge, at the site in 1999.

His mother Ann has since campaigned for young people to be aware of the dangers of swimming in open water.

People have also been hurt at the quarry. Orrell resident Natalie Bennett had to be airlifted to hospital with major ankle and knee injuries after she plunged 40ft down a cliff in a tombstoning incident.

East Quarry has also been a regular call-out location for Lancashire Police in recent years, especially during the summer months.

The force has sent a helicopter to try to disperse trespassers and has put out numerous warnings to stay away on social media.

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