Man fined for tombstoning from Ilfracombe Harbour

The Quay, Ilfracombe

Posted on: 2 August 2018

North Devon Council has successfully prosecuted a man for ‘tombstoning’ from Ilfracombe Harbour.

On 31 July magistrates at Barnstaple heard that Luke Harris, aged 24 of Oliver Road, Barnstaple, had been seen naked and in full view of families and children on South Quay on Sunday 8 July. He ignored requests by the Deputy Harbourmaster to get dressed, and instead jumped into the water five metres below. Two other young men were also swimming in the harbour, and all were shouting and swearing.

As a result of his actions, which were in contravention of the swimming byelaw that exists at the harbour, Mr Harris was fined £250 and ordered to pay the victim’s surcharge of £30 and £60 costs.

Ilfracombe Harbourmaster Georgina Carlo-Paat says: “Not only is tombstoning in the harbour extremely dangerous, it is also against the law. Jumping from the harbour walls may seem like good fun, but people who do this are risking their own lives. The harbour structures themselves can be dangerous, with chains and protrusions that can cause injury before someone has even hit the water. The water depth alters with the tide and water may be shallower than it seems, with submerged objects like rocks beneath the water. Boats and ships come in and out of the harbour all the time, and currents can be strong, even when the water appears calm. The risk is even higher when the participants have been drinking heavily. I hope that today’s prosecution sends out a clear message to the public that tombstoning will not be tolerated at the harbour; together with the police and CCTV evidence, we will continue to monitor this behaviour and tackle it before somebody gets seriously hurt, or worse.”

The penalty for jumping off the harbour can be up to a £1,000 fine upon prosecution.

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