BBC Home > BBC News > England

Cliff death sparks safety warning

9 July 09 18:52 GMT

Parents have urged council chiefs to make a Cornwall resort safer for young revellers after a Berkshire student fell to his death from a cliff.

Paddy Higgins, 16, a pupil at Forest School near Wokingham, was in Newquay celebrating the end of his GCSE exams.

He was declared dead on Tolcarne beach after apparently falling from cliffs.

His step-mother Shireen Higgins has called for parents to boycott the town until action is taken. But the mayor said Newquay ensures children's safety.

"As a family, we do not want any other family to have to go through what we are suffering," Mrs Higgins said.

"Newquay is not a safe place for teenagers to go to celebrate their freedom after their exams, the cliffs are too high and too unfenced.

"They are encouraged to party hard and stay out late."

Mrs Higgins also claimed some venues in the town sold alcohol to youngsters without asking for proof-of-age identification.

But a spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police said: "Newquay is a safe place as long as you come here with a degree of common sense and a degree of responsibility.

"Two thousand to 3,000 under-18-year-olds visit [the town], however, we have got operation Exodus, which is set up specifically to manage this."

The Exodus project is a two-week July event in which teenagers stay at a campsite - supervised by youth workers - and are transported to and from the town by a special bus service so they can attend venues that put on alcohol-free nights.

Newquay's mayor John Fitter said: "All we can do is to ensure that they are safe and ensure that they behave themselves."

Nearly 2,000 people have joined a tribute group to Paddy on social networking site Facebook.

Police said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death on Monday but they have appealed for anyone who saw what happened to contact them.

Paddy was the second teenager to die in a cliff fall in the resort in a week.

On 28 June, the body of 18-year-old Andrew Curwell, from Saddleworth in Greater Manchester, was found at the foot of cliffs at Newquay's Great Western Beach.

He was holidaying with friends to celebrate the end of his A-level exams when he fell.

Related BBC sites

*