Will it take a tragedy to deter brazen beachgoers?

People take to the beach east of the river on Good Friday while youngsters also climbed up onto the

People take to the beach east of the river on Good Friday while youngsters also climbed up onto the unstable cliffs. Ref shs 13-16SH 7456. Picture: Simon Horn - Credit: Archant

Children and beachgoers risk their lives under Sidmouth’s dangerous eastern cliffs – as a landslide at the other end of the seafront, on the same day, shows just how easily a tragedy could happen.

People ignored the warnings and ventured onto the shingle near Pennington Point - with some even climbing up the extremely unstable cliffs.

Youngsters are seen sitting under the crumbling face, just yards from where tonnes of rock hang precariously over a void.

Scores of fallen boulders failed to deter others from clambering onto the beleaguered stretch on Good Friday.

On the same day at the western end of the seafront, beachgoers were moved away from the beach near Jacob’s Ladder following a cliff fall.

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East Devon District Council (EDDC) maintains steps that lead onto east beach. A spokeswoman says the area is mainly owned by the National Trust, adding that the council that can only advise people to take ‘extra caution in these areas’.

Social media users have turned to the Herald’s Facebook page to call for more measures to avoid a tragedy.

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Mum-of-one Jodie Parsons, from Sidford, said: “It isn’t just youngsters there - you can clearly see adults who aren’t setting a very good example. There should be fences to stop people. It seems sad that it may take a tragic accident to stop people doing this. I sincerely hope it isn’t the case.”

Nigel Maeer, 34, of Balfours, Sidmouth, said the steps encourage ‘morons’ to go down to the beach, adding: “Have a ladder for emergency access and, yes, a sign forbidding access to the beach. I think it’s mad that we make it that easy to get down there - it’s deadly.”

Police and Beer Coastguard were called out to a cliff fall near Jacob’s Ladder at around 12.30pm last Friday, March 25.

Beer Coastguard station manager Terry Hoare said that the team arrived at low tide and stayed for three-and-a-half hours to keep visitors from getting caught out when the sea started to come in. EDDC officials met the crew to assess the situation and put up signs the following day to say the beach was closed.

Mr Hoare added: “Another cliff fall was quite possible, which could have been quite bad.”

An EDDC spokeswoman added: “In response to a request from the coastguard, EDDC closed Jacob’s Ladder beach on Saturday following a cliff fall.

“The beach is now open as normal but, as with many of the cliffs along our coastline, the risk of falls remains. Our advice remains that both visitors and residents should take care on beaches and cliff-tops.”

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