River Severn warning: Shrewsbury police urge people stay out of water

Emergency services are pleading with people to “respect” the River Severn after five people have had to be rescued from the water in just a week.

River Severn in Shrewsbury

Police in Shrewsbury have revealed that there has been a rash of emergencies due to people falling or jumping into the River Severn and struggling to get out.

No one has lost their life in the latest incidents but swimming in the River Severn, but such activity can be fatal.

The warning comes ahead of thousands of people flocking to the town for the annual flower show.

Six people have died in the river since 2010, with more than 50 having to be rescued by emergency services in that time. The number of reports of people in the water peaks during the summer months., West Mercia Police have said, and

The fire services has also warned parents to stop children and young people from going to swim in open water unsupervised.

Sgt Keith Steele, of West Mercia Police’s Shrewsbury and Rural safer neighbourhood team, said the most recent river call-outs had been for various reasons, from people entering the river deliberately or falling in.

He said: “Police and emergency services are appealing to the community to respect our rivers and lakes.

“This is after five people entered the River Severn in the last week alone. Luckily no one was seriously injured but emergency services are being called out on a regular basis.

“Both alcohol and vulnerable adults were involved on separate occasions. Our fire and rescue service boat has been called out last week on a number of occasions.

“Posters asking to respect water river safety advice are being placed at relevant places.

“We are working on a joint approach on this along with the Samaritans, Street Pastors and Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service.”

He added: “Please stay safe and respect our rivers and water courses. Our rivers are unpredictable with both cold spots and underlying currents.”

One of the incidents was at about 11.35pm on August 1 when emergency crews were called to Chester Street after a report of a man in the water, who was later found near the cricket club, intoxicated and suffering an injury to his leg, having managed to pull himself out – but the search for him tied up emergency services, including the police helicopter for a more than an hour.

Another man was rescued after falling in the water from the Welsh Bridge at about 11.45pm on Friday.

Inspector Ed Hancox from Shrewsbury Police said: “Shrewsbury has seen a number of tragic deaths in the river over the past few years and officers are working with partner agencies such as Shropshire Fire and Rescue and the RNLI to spread the message that it is not safe to swim in, and especially not while under the influence of drink or drugs.”

The water may look safe but can hide dangers such as hidden currents and hazardous objects, and even in the hot weather there is a risk of cold water shock, he said.