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Tombstoners leap from Plymouth cliff just yards from Coastguard rescue

The tombstoner was seen jumping into the water during a Coastguard safety demonstration. Credit: Plymouth Live

This is the shocking moment tombstoners leapt from Plymouth’s notorious ‘Dead Man’s Cove’ - during a Coastguard cliff rescue.

Youngsters jumped from the well-known spot on Plymouth Hoe last Friday (June 21), while volunteers conducted a simulation rescue just metres away.

The demonstration was held to raise awareness of the work done by the Plymouth Coastguard Rescue Team, and to highlight the area as an “incident hot spot”.

The volunteers had anchored a full cliff rig next to the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club and were just minutes into the training exercise when the tombstoners started jumping into the water.

Coastguard Rescue Officer Adam Hawson Credit: Plymouth Live

Unfortunately there's not much we can do. It's a bit cheeky, isn't it? If they know we're here it's a bit disrespectful. We tell them the risks and the hazards and if needs be, we explain some of the things that have gone wrong. They do listen, but they carry on and do it anyway.

– Adam Hawson, Plymouth Coastguard Rescue Team

In the video footage, which can be viewed in full below, one of the tombstoners can be seen running back and forth along a narrow ledge before leaping into the sea.

The spot is known as ‘Dead Man’s Cove’ and is popular with local tombstoners, despite a number of serious incidents over the years.

The area is known as 'Dead Man's Cove'. Credit: Plymouth Live

In October 2016, dad-of-three Vincent Wagstaff, 39, died from multiple injuries after leaping from the ledge while in July 2010, teenager Ben Thompson was left paralysed.

It is infuriating because we know the consequences but they just say 'you're spoiling our fun'.

Go to a proper diving thing if you want to dive off something into the water but going off here is absolutely ridiculous.

As long as people queue up and watch them or clap them - I've seen people clapping them - they'll continue to do it, just showing off to the girls you know.

We tell them if you saw the people that were in wheelchairs or crippled for life doing this from here, but they just say 'you're spoiling our fun.’

– John Peattie, Station Manager

Following the simulation, volunteer Jake Smith went and spoke to the tombstoners.

He urged the youngsters to consider learning an outdoor activity, like coasteering, to ensure they understand the importance of safety.

I work in outdoor education and I take people coasteering, a lot of these kids don't know about it and don't know about the dangers involved.

They don't do it in a safe manner, they don't know about the tides. One wrong slip and they could be paralysed or worse.

It might be fun but one wrong slip and they're in a wheelchair for the rest of their lives and they won't even be able to visit the Hoe without assistance. We don't want to have to peel them off the rocks or bring them up in a stretcher.

– Jake Smith