July 27, 2008

Beachcombers Risking Lives, Says Coastguard ; Coastguards Fear Beachcombers Could Be Killed By More Cliff Landslides If They Continue to Ignore Warning Signs Along Devon’s Jurassic Coast.

Coastguards fear beachcombers could be killed by more cliff landslides if they continue to ignore warning signs along Devon's Jurassic Coast.

It follows the latest collapse at Sidmouth where tonnes of earth, rocks and tree roots crashed onto Salcombe beach.

The fall occurred between the Alma Bridge over the River Sid and Salcombe Mouth at the eastern end of the seafront on Thursday. The popular beach has been closed to the public for the past five years and signs warn people to stay away.

But coastguard Terry Hoare said they were ignored by the public.

"There are fears that if this continues someone is going to be killed," he said.

Mr Hoare, team leader of the Beer Coastguards, said people had been sitting at the spot engulfed by rocks and debris only hours before the latest landslide.

"Had they been there during the afternoon we would have been recovering bodies from the beach," he said.

The beach is owned by the National Trust and forms an important stretch of the World Heritage Site in East Devon. The damage has been assessed by a countryside worker from East Devon District Council.

Steps near Alma Bridge - the access from Port Royal to the beach - continue to be used, despite being cordoned off for safety reasons.

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