by Henry James (June 2021)

A POLICE car was damaged after dispersal orders were issued over the weekend when crowds of youths gathered illegally at a dangerous quarry in West Lancashire.

The dispersal notices gave police the power to instruct people to leave the site known as east quarry in Appley Bridge and also confiscate anything they believe could be used to cause anti social behaviour.

There have been fatalities at the quarry in the past and police say the youths, who may have travelled there from outside the area, were “putting themselves at serious risk” as well as causing a nuisance for local residents.

Police have released a picture of items including bottles of alco pops and inflatables they found or seized from youths who breached the dispersal notice.

They told parents that “if anyone’s teenagers returned home without their belongings” they could collect the items from Ormskirk Police Station with proof of identity if they ask for the on-duty officer and there will be a discussion with your child about the damage caused to the police car.”

Police issued several parking tickets over the weekend for people parking their vehicles illegally around the quarry while several individuals were also searched under the misuse of drugs act.

Police said: “Due to the number of people attending the quarry, putting themselves at serious risk and causing anti social behaviour for local residents, a dispersal order was authorised.

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“This will be in place each day over the weekend and gives police the power to instruct people to leave the area and also confiscate anything they believe could be used to cause antisocial behaviour. We will be working in conjunction with British Transport Police and Lancashire Fire and Rescue.”

The West Lancs Policing Teams had issued another statement earlier in the week warning of the dangers of east quarry: “The risk of drowning in quarry water is much higher than other waters due to the extreme temperature changes, unsafe platforms within the water and even the bacteria within there as well!

“Appley Bridge Quarry is now a working quarry again, meaning there will be increased activity to facilitate pumping the water away ready for construction purposes. It is now even more dangerous to be in the area without a legitimate purpose.

“I urge the public to continue reporting incidents within the area where we will take appropriate action with those involved.”

Gill Lea wrote on social media: “The Government has advised restrictions for travelling for Greater Manchester and Lancashire to restrict unnecessary travel. I would assume this could be extended to people from outside these areas coming into our local neighbourhood? (Appley Bridge).

“We have been inundated with teenagers travelling to our area to use the local quarry.”

In 2015, 13-year-old Miracle Godson,, who was expected to become a future rugby league star, died after getting into difficulty at the Appley Bridge quarry.

Craig Croston, 17, also drowned at the site in 1999.

The government has run a campaign ‘Quarry water is a stone cold killer. Stay out, stay alive’. It was developed following an extensive audit of disused quarries by the district councils, which helped identify the highest risk sites and the features within each site which makes them so dangerous.

The government has stated that the risks at quarries, “relate not only to the cold water, but to hazards including submerged machinery which may not be visible from the surface, rubbish and industrial pollution which can cause skin and eye irritations, rashes and infections.”

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