Don’t drink and drown message

Police were searching for a man who fell in the canal
Police were searching for a man who fell in the canal
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Bars in Leeds have joined forces with the police and river safety organisations to urge party-goers to stay safe near water over the festive season.

The ‘Don’t Drink and Drown campaign’ is part of a nationwide message being sent out as offices and friends start their Christmas party celebrations .

It warns drinkers to act responsibly near water after they have been drinking and make sure they don’t walk home near rivers, canals or lakes.

The message is being reinforced on banners, posters and beer mats. Banners are also being placed on railings next to the rivers.

Statistics show between 2012 and 2015 there were 17 drownings across West Yorkshire and that all were adults.

Of those 17, four people were found to have had alcohol in their bloodstream which works out as just under 25 per cent.

Jon Horsfall, waterway manager for the Canal & River Trust said: “We don’t want to spoil the festive fun but want everyone to get home safely this Christmas.

“Unfortunately people sometimes take unnecessary risks or can be tempted to make unwise decisions, especially after enjoying a few drinks. Sadly, the consequences of getting it wrong can be disastrous.”

Tom Mountain, operations director at the Stew & Oyster bar on Call Lane, said: “We want all of our guests to have an amazing festive season this year.

“As operators on the river front however, we are aware of all the dangers that the river can present. Even though it’s something to be used and enjoyed, we’d like to remind everyone to stay safe this Christmas.”

Nationwide figures for 2012 to 2014 show 38 per cent of 18 to 21-year-old accidental drowning victims had alcohol in their bloodstream.

Last year this had increased to 67 per cent.