COUNCIL chiefs have urged people to contact them if they see misplaced lifebelts at the waterside.
Hartlepool Borough Council wants residents to get in touch to let safety bosses know if any life aids are not in their correct docking stations.
It comes after a concerned visitor to Hartlepool Marina contacted the Hartlepool Mail to say she had noticed two lifebelts were missing from their fixed points at Harbour Walk, outside the former Garlands call centre offices.
Lifebelts have also been spotted floating in the lake at Rossmere Park.
Temperatures have plummeted to below zero this week, despite an unusually mild start to the year, and the concerns raised prompt a need for enhanced safety around potentially deadly icy waters.
Council chiefs say the lifebelts are checked weekly, and blame the wind and vandalism for the buoyancy aids going missing.
They want the public to be their “eyes and ears” to report any missing lifebelts from the marina area and other areas, including ponds in the town’s Ward Jackson Park and Rossmere Park.
The woman, who did not wish to be named, said she had seen two lifebelts that were missing from their fixings and that were in the dock on two consecutive days last week.
She said: “I noticed two lifebelts were in the water by the little boat shed.
“I’m quite concerned for people’s safety.
“There are about five in that road near Garlands but these two were right down in the water, in the corner.
“I would hate to think I fell in the water and needed saving.”
Hartlepool Marina bosses did not wish to comment on the matter, saying the issue was Hartlepool Borough Council’s responsibility.
A council spokesman said: “Lifebelts can sometimes be blown around by the wind, but on other occasions damage is the result of mindless vandalism.
“The lifebelts are checked on a weekly basis but we would also urge members of the public to act as our eyes and ears and report any missing or damaged lifebelts by calling the council on (01429) 523333.”
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