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Security stepped up at Ardingly reservoir

Security patrols are being stepped up at Ardingly Reservoir in a bid to protect warm-weather revellers from swimming.

South East Water, Wakehurst Place and West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service have found a significant number of people entering the water.

The company does not support swimming at any of its reservoirs and has repeatedly given out warnings regarding the dangers associated with swimming in reservoirs.

Chris Lunn, Head of Health, Safety and Quality, said: “We’re so privileged to have such wonderful open spaces for the public to enjoy during these periods of hot weather but we must prioritise every visitor’s safety.

“Over the weekend, we saw large gatherings of people at our reservoirs taking part in activities like barbecues and swimming.

“The anti-social activity we are seeing risks fires, damage to local habitats and intimidates other visitors trying to enjoy our wonderful reservoirs.

“Reservoirs may seem like a good place to swim or cool down but they can contain hidden dangers which are not always obvious from the bankside.

“Our advice is never to swim at any reservoir unless it is a part of an organised event where the risks are suitably low and first aiders are in place.”

Specific other dangers to swimmers can include:

  • An accumulation of silt on the bottom of the reservoir trapping feet
  • Machinery and pipework hidden beneath the surface which can start without warning and generate currents
  • Shelves or areas where the depth changes suddenly
  • Submerged branches, plants or other hazards that can trap or entangle a swimmer
  • Blue-green algae in some reservoirs which are naturally occurring but toxic organisms that can cause serious illness to humans and animals
  • If people do get into difficulty the remote nature of the site can make it hard to get assistance.

Chris continued: “Our security team will be walking around the reservoirs to ensure everyone is enjoying their day safely.

“Please remember our staff are there to keep you safe and any abuse towards them will not be tolerated.

“If you spot any antisocial or dangerous behaviour taking place, please alert our team immediately.”

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