Police are warning youngsters not to swim in ‘dangerous’ Ardsley Reservoir after a group of 30 were spotted in the water.
Passers-by reported the large group of youths swimming and sunbathing on Sunday July 17, despite the risks.
The reservoir has historically attracted swimmers during warm weather, yet its water temperature can drop to as low as 12 degrees - colder than an average river. Its depth can also reach 50 metres in some places.
Yorkshire Water reservoir manager Darren Lynch has now urged people to stay away.
“Some residents think Ardsley Reservoir is a placid and safe places to take a swim, but reservoirs can be extremely dangerous,” he said. “They are often colder than rivers and this can result in cold water shock that can lead to hyperventilation, increased blood pressure, breathing difficulties and heart attacks. Water temperatures remain just as cold in summer as in winter.”
In the last five years alone, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service have been called out to 12 water rescue incidents on reservoirs, ponds and lakes - one of which resulted in a fatality.
Parents living in 300 homes in East Ardsley and Tingley, which are close to the site, have received letters asking them to warn their children not to enter the water.
PC John Cockroft of West Yorkshire Police added:
“I know the water can appear to be an inviting place in which to play or cool down on a warm summer’s day, but reservoirs can be dangerous places. We don’t want to stop people having fun but would urge anyone thinking of playing in or around a reservoir to stop and think about the dangers and do something different.”
Cold Water Kills signs are displayed on paths around the reservoir, but police believe groups who have been drinking are deliberately choosing to ignore the warnings.