Plymouth police get power to stop tombstoners
TEMPERATURES may have plunged overnight but it won't be long before they rise again.
And with that, and the stretching out of the days into the long summer evenings, comes the prospect of groups of teenagers jumping off the Hoe and 'tombstoning' into the cool waters of the Sound.
The daredevil activity has long been a fixture of Plymouth's life and, it seems, it is one that is hard to shift.
Despite the obvious dangers and a handful of horrific accidents, including 20 year-old Ben Thompson who was left paralysed, youths still flock to the cliffs in search of a thrill.
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Now police have been granted extra powers to 'disperse' groups who gather to jump from the Hoe.
The police's new dispersal order will run around the clock from later this month and through to the autumn.
Cllr Chris Penberthy, the man who signed off the order, says it is in place for the safety of groups "who might become slightly irresponsible in their behaviour" and "egg each other on".
His careful choice of words is perhaps deliberate, because tombstoning is not something you can tackle with a blunt law-enforcement tool. Jumping into the sea for 'fun' can be just that, and we should not assume the youngsters who do it don't know what they're doing, or that they will cause a nuisance.
But it is a wise move to ensure powers exist to intervene if things get out of hand.