Parents are being advised to warn their youngsters of the dangers of entering derelict or empty buildings.
The warning comes from the Isle of Wight Community Safety Partnership (CSP), whose key partners- the council, police and fire and rescue service – are working with owners of empty sites to ensure they are as secure as possible.
“Empty and derelict buildings can be a magnet for young people and this can lead to injury, anti-social behaviour and further damage to themselves and the sites,” said Councillor Tig Outlaw, Cabinet member for community safety and public protection.
“Many of the buildings are unlit and there is a risk of tripping or becoming impaled on railings trying to enter or exit a site. I would urge the public to also make us aware of any sites of particular concern.”
However, the council is appealing for the public to report any unsecured buildings or sites to its empty property officer, so that appropriate action can be taken.
Howard Watts, senior officer for the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Our emergency services have to respond to all fires and this includes those set deliberately in empty or unused properties. Not only does it put our crew members at risk, it also means while we are responding to incidents of that nature, we are not able to respond as promptly to other emergencies.”
Backing the safety call, District Commander for the Isle of Wight, Superintendent Sarah Jackson from Hampshire Constabulary, said: “We are working with partners to make sure that Island youngsters realise any empty building could have dangers inside and since these buildings are very often private property, they are trespassing.
“My message to owners is to make sure your site is secured and for the public to be aware of any suspicious activity. Although trespassing itself is not a criminal offence, it is often linked with criminal damage and anti-social behaviour, which we have a number of powers that we can use to tackle.”
If you are aware of an unsecured empty building or site please contact Will Taylor, the council’s empty property officer, on (01983) 821000 ext: 6935.
Anyone who sees someone acting suspiciously in their area is asked to call 101.
Active building sites are the responsibility of the Health and Safety Executive, so in this case, please visit: http://www.hse.gov.uk/contact/contact.htm or contact: 020 3028 2850
For a range of summer holiday activities and events taking place on the Island, visit https://www.thefamilydirectory.co.uk/about/