New safety measures could be introduced after death of Robert Hattersley in River Tyne at Ovingham

Robert Hattersley, 13, got into difficulty while swimming in the river near Ovingham, in Northumberland, with friends in July. Credit: Northumbria Police/ITV News Tyne Tees

New safety measures could be introduced on the north bank of the River Tyne in Northumberland following the death of a teenager last month.

Robert Hattersley, 13, drowned after getting into difficulty while swimming with friends in the river, near Ovingham, in Northumberland, in July.

His body was found in the water during a major search and rescue operation.

There have since been calls, including from the Crawcrook teen's family, to improve safety measures on the stretch of river, which is popular with dog walkers and water sports enthusiasts.

Ovingham Parish Council has said that it is in discussion with landowners Northumberland Estates to discuss the issue.

Robert Hattersley's family gathered by the river to mark what would have been his 14th birthday earlier this month. Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

A spokesman for the council said: "We have been in discussion with Northumberland Estates and Northumberland County Council about the renewal of present signage, placement of a lifebuoy and extra signage on the riverbank.

"The parish council met with a representative of Northumberland Estates on site to discuss land ownership."

He added: "We are still investigating land ownership of the riverbank and whose responsibility it is to put the signage in place.

"Hopefully we will have the latter in place as soon as possible. We are very conscious and concerned about the river safety."

Councillor Angie Scott, who represents Prudhoe North, said she has been working with Northumberland County Council officers for measures on the south side of the river at Prudhoe Riverside Country Park.

The councillor called on people not to go in the water and revealed she had almost been washed away by currents there as a teenager.

The council has outlined what measures it is putting in place to ensure safety at the river is improved.

Tributes left by the riverside following Robert Hattersley's death. Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

A spokeswoman for the council said: "Council officers have reviewed the locations of public rescue equipment on the south side of the river and determined that the five existing stations for the lifebuoys are in the correct place.

"They need to be sited in a location where they will not be removed by the current, even in a flood situation, and as the river levels are so variable along this stretch of the river, they need to be by the path rather than near the river bed.

"Officers have reviewed the existing signage at these points and are developing some new signs alongside local stakeholders including a local wild swimming group.

They added: "They will reinforce existing messages in regard to the dangers of swimming in open water. Details of what to do in case of emergency will also be expanded upon to include information from the RNLI Float to Live campaign. 

"The council's community safety officers will also be working with local schools and youth groups to address issues around water safety, risk and dangers of open water. "

Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To know...