Page last updated at 17:35 GMT, Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Icy lake warning after boy rescue

The rescue taking place
Specialist crews were brought in to rescue the boy

Fire chiefs are urging people to stay off frozen lakes and ponds after a boy had to be rescued in Hereford.

Crews were called to Belmont Pool just before 1300 GMT after the boy fell through some ice into the water before he managed to climb on to an island.

Specialist crews were brought in to build a bridge that was used to rescue the boy.

More than 300 schools have been shut across Herefordshire and Worcestershire after heavy snow fell.

Severe weather warnings were still being issued by the Met Office for the two counties with snow and ice affecting travel.

Bus and rail services were affected and passengers were urged to check for cancellations before travelling.

'Extremely dangerous'

Herefordshire Council said up to 10cm (4in) of snow had fallen overnight in Hereford and up to 25.4cm (10in) had fallen in southern parts of the county.

A spokesman for Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service said parents should talk to their children about the dangers of playing on icy ponds and lakes.

Worcester Cathedral in the snow (pic by Gary Jay)
Police urged drivers to stay at home unless their trip was essential

Station manager Neil Pigott said: "Venturing on to frozen ponds, lakes and canals is extremely dangerous - falling through the ice can so easily have fatal results."

West Mercia Police has warned drivers to stay at home unless their trip is essential.

The force said the A49 Callow Hill in Herefordshire was closed to lorries in both directions due to ice and snow.

Herefordshire Council said it had enough grit to last for up to 20 days and more grit was due to be delivered later.

NHS managers at Worcestershire Royal Hospital, Worcester, and the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch, said their accident and emergency departments had been "overwhelmed" with the number of patients turning up.

They urged people to stay away unless they had serious injuries.

Bin collections in Herefordshire and Worcestershire were suspended, although Worcester City Council said it had been trying to collect some rubbish.

All of Herefordshire's tips were also shut.

The organisers of the National Hunt said an event in Hereford on Sunday had been cancelled due to frost and snow.

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