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River safety advice

1 December 2017

Medway Council is warning people of the dangers of removing lifebuoys from around the river’s edge.

The council inspects the lifebuoys each month, but has recently found a number of them missing.

'A small minority of people are putting lives at risk'

Cllr Adrian Gulvin, Portfolio Holder covering the Community Safety Partnership, said: “Unfortunately a small minority of people are putting lives at risk. We have replaced a number of lifebuoys, but they continue to be stolen. This is not only a criminal offence, but irresponsible and at the expense of taxpayers. I would urge anyone who witnesses someone removing a lifebuoy when there is no emergency, to report the incident immediately to the police. The reality is, the mindless actions of others could lead to someone drowning.”

'What starts out as high jinks and a bit of fun can end in tragedy'

RNLI Area Lifesaving Manager, Neil Withers, who covers the Thames and North Kent, said: “We are trying to get the message across that by removing lifebuoys you are playing with people’s lives. What starts out as high jinks and a bit of fun can end in tragedy, because when it’s needed that piece of equipment is not there or it’s vandalised. It could be their child or mother that needs it. The message is ‘think twice’.  It’s a vital piece of public rescue equipment that is put there to save someone from drowning.”