Youths warned after 'pitch black' swim

Police in County Durham said they were "flabbergasted" to find a group of teenagers in a fast-flowing river late at night after a day of heavy rain.

A member of the public alerted officers to the group of 15, who had entered the River Tees at Green Bridge in Barnard Castle after drinking alcohol.

The incident was reported at 22:00 BST on Thursday after the area had seen prolonged rainfall.

No-one was hurt, but police have warned about the risks of entering open water.

Pc Gary Dunn, who attended the incident, said the area was "pitch black" at the time and the group from Darlington were already having difficulties on slippery rocks.

'Slipping and stumbling'

He said: "After a week when so many lives have been lost in the water around the UK, I was truly flabbergasted at their actions.

"They had all been drinking and yet still entered the river. It was pitch black, with the only light coming from a pedestrian footbridge.

"As I approached the group they were putting their clothes and shoes back on, and were slipping and stumbling.

"They agreed in hindsight that having been for a meal and drinks in the town, the idea to go down to the river was dangerous in the least."

Acting Sgt Dave Williamson, from Barnard Castle police, added: "We want to reinforce the message that open water, whether on the coast, lakes or rivers can be potentially dangerous. The Tees is a fast flowing river and at night presents a dangerous place to be."

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