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Saturday, 25 October 2014

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Emergency team called out to rescue river bed

A west Cumbrian council had to call in members of Cockermouth Mountain Rescue Team – to rescue a BED!

Mountain rescue team photo
The rescue team

The bed – complete with mattress – had been dropped from a bridge on the Greenway, one of the town’s footpaths, onto the river bank below.

The steep embankment at the side of the River Cocker was too steep for staff at Allerdale council to scale so members of Cockermouth’s Mountain Rescue team offered to help.

They used the experience as an opportunity for a training exercise and that if an emergency had occurred they would have gone straight away.

Mike Park, from Cockermouth Mountain Rescue Team, said: “The area was quite inaccessible but we were able to get to it on our canoe.

“This is not something we make a habit of but we are happy to help on this occasion because the town does a lot for us as a mountain rescue team.

“There were about eight of us in total and the operation took about an hour and a half. It would have been fairly expensive to call in a specialist team to recover the bed.

“Our prime purpose is to rescue people in need and if a major emergency had occurred during yesterday afternoon’s exercise then we would have gone straight away as we had cover available.”

The rescue happened at about 4.15pm on Friday.

Joe Broomfield, Cockermouth town centre area manager, said: “It was quite dramatic as people were out walking their dogs and stopped to watch.

“They wore dry suits and used an inflatable raft to reach the embankment.

“They paddled down the river and then loaded the bed and mattress, some corrugated iron, a bike wheel, a garden fork and various other bits and pieces onto the raft.

“They then moored the raft to an accessible part of the river and we met them with a van and loaded the items into the vehicle to take them away to dispose of safely.

“We are very grateful to the mountain rescue team for helping us.”

Allerdale councillor Michael Heaslipsaid: “If we had had to call in a specialist team to pick up this mattress it would have cost several hundred pounds so, thanks to the generosity of Cockermouth Mountain Rescue Team, there has been a saving for the taxpayer.

“Dumping rubbish is illegal, dangerous and detrimental to the appearance of our towns, villages and rural areas. By law, those caught or witnessed dumping items may face a prosecution in the magistrates court which carries a maximum fine of £50,000 could see them facing an additional jail term of up to a year. If the case was heard in a crown court that prison sentence could be up to five years.

“We urge our residents to be vigilant and report incidents of fly tipping to the council as soon as possible.”

Residents can dispose of their rubbish free of charge at the Household Waste Recycling Centres which are operated by Cumbria County Council - visit www.cumbria.gov.uk or contact Allerdale council to arrange a bulky goods collection on 01900 702800.

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