Fire crews use inflatable walkways to rescue people from icy lakes
Fire chiefs have warned parents to ensure children stay off frozen lakes after footprints were found on a lake in Stoke-on-Trent.
Staffordshire Fire Service said footprints, along with writing, were found in settled snow on top of the icy lake in Central Forest Park in Hanley.
A spokesman said that ice which may look thick could easily give way if it was stood upon.
He added the freezing temperature of the water could kill within minutes.
Staffordshire Fire and Rescue's assistant area commander for Hanley, Glynn Luznyi, said there had been an increase in 999 calls about people playing on ice, getting trapped on icy ponds and people and animals falling into the water.
Ian Foss, the fire service's head of risk reduction, said:"It is a very picturesque time of year and it can be tempting for people to go onto the ice, but it's so unstable, people really are risking their lives."
The more people go onto the ice, the more unstable it becomes, he said. "I think parents have got a big part to play. They need to really stress to their children, when they go out, not to go onto the ice."
The fire service also urged people to call 999 to get specialist help to rescue people in trouble on the ice, rather than risk further lives by attempting to rescue them.