Missing lifebelts put lives at risk in north Essex

A life belt and rubbish in the River Gipping near Yarmouth Road Bridge, Ipswich, Suffolk

A life belt and rubbish in the River Gipping - Credit: Dave Kindred

A north Essex council has complained following a spate of lifebelts going missing. 

Tendring District Council released a statement on October 28 saying that a substantial amount of life saving equipment had gone missing, presumed stolen.

Each of the orange lifebelts costs around £60 and the council maintains more than 80 along the Essex coast.

The lifebelts are for use by Tendring District Council's beach patrol, and by members of the public, if someone gets into trouble in the water. 

Councilor Alex Porter, portfolio holder for leisure and tourism, said he is shocked that anyone would steal lifebelts which are potential lifesavers.

He said: “We take coastal safety very seriously, you never know when a lifebelt might be needed by someone who may get into difficulty in the sea.”

“This is why lifebelts are stationed at regular intervals along the coast and we make sure that they are maintained on their station, it is not acceptable that some people think that stealing them is an ok thing to do.

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"They cost taxpayers money to replace and removing them could create a life threatening situation.

“It is a criminal offence to tamper with this equipment and the council will press for a prosecution if there is the evidence available.”

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