Plea to heed water warnings after swimmers spotted at Ulley

Plea to heed water warnings after swimmers spotted at Ulley

By Michael Upton | 23/07/2021

Plea to heed water warnings after swimmers spotted at Ulley
People in the water on Saturday


A MAN and a 12-year-old boy were caught on camera taking a dip at Ulley Reservoir — just weeks after teenager Sam Haycock drowned at the beauty spot.

A wildlife photographer, who dialled 999 to raise the alarm, told of his horror at spotting the pair in the water so soon after the tragedy in which 16-year-old Sam died.

Police headed to the scene and spoke to the older swimmer — understood to be the boy’s uncle — to warn him of the dangers.

But the photographer said the man remained unrepentant, saying as he stormed past: “Are you happy now?”

The incident happened the day before a man was found dead after going for a swim in the lake at Crookes Valley Park, Sheffield.

And on Tuesday evening, a group of 30 youths was reportedly spotted swimming at Treeton Dyke and ordered out of the water by police.

It prompted fire service officials to renew their warnings about the dangers of swimming in open water.

The photographer at Ulley, who asked not to be named, said: “I was taking some pictures of the wildlife and just saw a big splash.

“I could see a man in his 30s having a swim with this boy, who turned out to be his nephew, about halfway across the reservoir.

“When they came nearer, I shouted: ‘It’s dangerous, a young lad died a month ago’ and the man just said: ‘All right, it’s hot.’

“I phoned up the police and they came straight away. By this time, they were out of the water.

“The police took their names and addresses and explained what had happened to young Sam but when he came past me, the man just said: ‘Are you happy now?’

“I said: ‘You could die in there’ and he just said: ‘It’s hot’.

“I have a son the same age and I just thought you don’t know what’s underneath the surface. 

“I thought if something happened to them and I hadn’t reported it, it would always be on my mind.

“Hopefully they will think again. If you really need a swim, there are public pools to go to.”

Oakwood School student Sam, from East Dene, died in May after going to Ulley with friends to celebrate the end of Year 11.

The Advertiser told last week how his parents and friends are campaigning for new safety equipment in his memory and calling on the public to heed warnings about staying safe.

A fire service spokesman said this week: “In the last few months, we have seen a number of tragic drowning incidents in and around South Yorkshire, including heart-breaking incidents at Ulley Reservoir and Crookes Valley Park.

“Our message to people across South Yorkshire is simple — please stay out of the water unless you are at a proper swimming pool or part of an organised open water swimming group.

“We know how tempting it is to go for a swim in lakes, canals and reservoirs, especially in hot weather like this, but there are too many risks.  

“Open bodies of water are often much colder than they look. This can send your body into shock when you jump in and prevent you being able to swim to safety. 

“You also have no idea what is underneath — hidden currents, rocks and rubbish being the main dangers that can cause you serious harm.

“We call upon parents to speak to their children about the dangers and not giving into peer pressure.”

A police spokeswoman said police had been called at about 1.50pm on Saturday.

She added: “Officers, who were in the area on patrol, spoke to them and offered words of advice about the dangers of swimming in open water.”