Sussex

Brighton beach closed to Christmas Day swimmers

Brighton Pier
Image caption The beach around Brighton Pier will be closed on Christmas Day

Swimmers have been urged to stay away from Brighton beach on Christmas Day because of safety fears.

The council said the area around Brighton Pier would be closed on Friday to stop people entering the water.

Brighton Swimming Club said it was a shame the traditional swim had been halted but "safety first" was key.

It said the beach was particularly "high risk" to swimmers because of the way the shingle dropped away.

The club annual swim, which dates back to 1860, has been cancelled a number of times in recent years because members of the public have wanted to join in.

City councillor Robert Nemeth initially challenged fellow council members to a festive dip on Twitter but later said "appalling weather" meant conditions would not be safe.

'High Risk'

Fiona Southwell, from the Brighton Swimming Club, said: "Our hands are tied.

"They've [the council] done the same again this year and having looked at the predicted forecast, it's probably the wisest thing to do.

"It needed to be a public event and they can't afford that.

"It would cost thousands of pounds to have frogman and keep swimmers safe."

A spokeswoman for Brighton and Hove City Council said: "We're going to be discouraging people from swimming at this time of year because it's so dangerous and especially if they have been drinking."

The Met Office has forecast rain in the morning with showers persisting throughout the day towards the coast. Temperatures are also expected to drop.

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