'Accident waiting to happen' - Warning over dangers of climbing on sand dunes

PUBLISHED: 15:18 30 June 2019 | UPDATED: 10:52 01 July 2019

Jan Taylor, from Hemsby, captured this image of the dangerous behaviour. Picture: Jan Taylor

Jan Taylor, from Hemsby, captured this image of the dangerous behaviour. Picture: Jan Taylor


A beach-goer has been left horrified after she saw scores of adults and children climbing up dangerous dunes on the Norfolk coast.

Hemsby Lifeboat coxswain Daniel Hurd.  Picture: James BassHemsby Lifeboat coxswain Daniel Hurd. Picture: James Bass

Jan Taylor, from Hemsby, was soaking up the sun on Saturday when she noticed a group playing on the hazardous dunes at Hemsby beach.

The 63-year-old described the behaviour as an "accident waiting to happen" and was shocked at the "disrespect to the environment".

She said: "It was an organised holiday group with parents and children with the majority all wearing red t-shirts.

"As an organisation with responsibilities it was totally irresponsible behaviour. Adults were in the dunes as well."

Mrs Taylor claimed the holiday group were climbing to the top of the dunes, and then sliding down to the sand.

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"It was lovely seeing children enjoying themselves but there was no respect being shown for the environment around them. If anything had happened it would have been a tragic accident - I was so saddened to see it," she said.

Daniel Hurd, coxswain at Hemsby Lifeboat, advised beach-goers to keep off the area, as recent warm weather had dried out the sand and caused dunes to become "unstable".

"There are signs, but unfortunately they have been vandalised and people are choosing to ignoring them.

"We have noticed we are getting more people at the shed with injuries because parents are letting their kids go there," he said.

Because of housing demolitions due to the coastal erosion, Mr Hurd said fragments of broken glass and wood were buried in the sand.

"We are advising people to not go up there. It will be a lot safer if you stay off," he added. "It has happened before - we have seen people get buried by the sand."

On Good Friday in 2012, two girls were nearly buried alive after a sand dune collapsed on the beach. One girl was buried up to her neck, and the other up to her chest.

At the time, Ross Hewitt, then coxswain of Hemsby Lifeboat, said: "The major risk is death."

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