'Get out of the sea' tannoy warning at Barry Island beach was 'false alarm'

Families reported hearing a 'water quality' tannoy announcement asking everyone to come out of the sea. Credit: PA Images

A tannoy alert telling people to get out of the water at one of Wales' best-known beaches was a false alarm, according to a council member and water company.

On Saturday, May 18, people were ordered out of the water on the packed beach at Barry Island in the Vale of Glamorgan.

Hundreds of families were enjoying the spell of warm weather on the beach and the nearby annual festival Gwyl Fach y Fro.

However, some families reported that around 4pm there was a "water quality" announcement asking everyone to come out of the sea as there had been an alert saying it was not safe to swim.

It came after Surfers Against Sewage, one of the UK's most successful marine conservation and campaigning charities, published the alerts on its website for 19 Welsh beaches and seafronts which had been polluted by storm sewage or given a poor water classification.

The alert at Barry Island read: "Pollution alert: storm sewage has been discharged from a sewer overflow in this location within the past 48 hours.

"The bay is a sandy 700m cove located west of Barry Docks and Jackson's Bay. It faces south towards the Bristol Channel, backed by the dock area and the town of Barry.

"Seaside shops can be found in the immediate foreground, with limestone cliffs on either side and headlands called Friars Point to the west and Nell's Point to the east."

However, Welsh Water, has confirmed an investigation determined it was a "false alarm" caused by a fault with a monitor.

A councillor for Vale of Glamorgan Council has said the public announcement was not made at the request of the council or based on information supplied by them.

In a statement, Councillor Mark Wilson, the cabinet member for neighbourhood services at the local authority, said: "We understand that the RNLI team at Barry Island made a public announcement on Saturday to advise against entering into the water.

"This wasn’t at the request of the council or based on any information that we supplied and appears to have been a false alarm.

"While we appreciate the RNLI team acting quickly to try and keep visitors to the resort safe we’d like to reassure the public that regular testing of the water at Barry Island takes place and there is currently no reason to consider the water at Whitmore Bay to be unsafe."

A spokesperson for Welsh Water said: "We are aware that the monitor on our overflow at Barry indicated that it was operating on Saturday afternoon.

"Our team has investigated and confirmed this was a false alarm caused by a fault with the monitor which can happen.

"Our team will now undertake work to correct the fault with the monitor and we would like to apologise for any confusion caused."

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