Skaters warned off by police

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SKATEBOARDERS are being issued with a stark police warning to stop using a “dangerous” disused factory to practise their skills.

Hartlepool’s skateboarding enthusiasts have used websites to flag up the former Sharwood’s factory, in Greatham Village, as a place to skate.

But today the town’s police issued a warning for the youths to stay away from it for fear of serious injury and the risks posed by asbestos at the site.

Parents are also being urged to make sure they know where there children are playing – especially during the school summer holidays which are fast approaching.

A spokesman for Cleveland Police said: “It’s been noted that skateboarders have been putting the factory on their website as a great place to skate. However, the building itself and the grounds around the site are in a very unsafe condition and there maybe additional dangers of asbestos still being present throughout.

“We are asking skaters instead to go to the town’s skate parks as Sharwood’s poses a severe safety risk. If anyone becomes severely injured they may go un-noticed.

“With the summer holidays quickly approaching we are also asking parents if they know where their children are playing and if they are doing so safely.”

The police warning comes after Greatham parish councillor Mike McKie voiced his concerns that kids using the 30-acre site, in Marsh House Lane, were putting their lives at risk.

He said people could be hurt as it is covered in broken glass, has jagged shards hanging from windows, metal vents hanging off the ceilings, and several open drops where protective metal barriers and manhole covers have been removed or stolen.

Coun McKie, who runs a general store in Greatham, previously told the Mail: “These kids are going to get injured. They have no idea how dangerous it is.

“If a child fell in one of those pits they wouldn’t get out again.”

He is working with the site owners – a charity called The Helping Foundation in Manchester – Hartlepool Borough Council, colleges and landscape gardeners to make the site more safe.

Cerebos first opened a factory on the site in 1906 before it was taken over in the 1970s, by RHM making cereals, soup and soft drinks. In 1997, Sharwoods bought the site and made chutneys until it closed in 2001.