The Coastguard has issued a plea for people to take care at the beach after nine people have died in the past 10 days.

The warning has been issued as schools break up for summer and ahead of World Drowning Prevention Day on Sunday July 25 which has been organised by the United Nations to highlight the issue.

A Coastguard spokeswoman said: “Coastguards across the UK have issued a stark warning to take care at the coast or risk tragic consequences.

“The warning comes as many are expected to travel to the coast for beach holidays and days out in the UK across the remaining summer months.

“In the past 10 days, HM Coastguard recorded that nine people have sadly died while visiting the beach or coast.

“Each death represents a widescale tragedy for the families and friends of those who have died. Others have faced life-changing injuries.”

It comes after a group of around 20 young people were seen open water swimming on Thursday, as temperatures soared to 30 degrees.

Police in Chorley said that the group were between the ages of 12 and 14 and from a mix of schools including Parklands, Southlands and Holy Cross.

They were seen swimming in the Fishery, Heapey with officers warning that this could be very dangerous.

A police spokesperson said: "This isn't funny and we are not playing games anymore, lives are at risk here."

They added: "Do you know where your kids have been today?

"If they have returned home with anti vandal paint on them you will know that they have been here.

"A number of them got anti vandal paint on themselves when trying to flee from the police."

Police say that once they have identified the young people in question, they will arrange for them to have a group input from Beckie Ramsay who lost her son Dylan to cold water shock from open water swimming.

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Earlier this week a man died and two men were taken to hospital following an incident at Crosby beach.

On Tuesday July 20 at around 7.10pm, emergency services were called to Crosby beach after receiving reports of three men in their 20s getting into difficulties in the sea.

All three men were rescued and taken to hospital but sadly one man was pronounced dead a short time later.

The man was the fifth person to have died in the north west in less than a week after getting into difficulty in open water.

On Saturday 16-year-old Mohammad Abdul Hamid, drowned in the River Eden in Cumbria.

On Monday, police in Greater Manchester confirmed a 19-year-old man had died after swimming in Salford Quays.

It is thought Ngapee Merenga, a talented footballer, had been swimming with friends when he disappeared under the water on Sunday evening.

The body of a 16-year-old boy was also found after he went missing on the River Weaver near Frodsham on Monday.

And on Sunday a body was found on a beach on the Fylde Coast following a major search operation for a missing man.

At around 3.27pm on Saturday police were called after receiving reports that a man in his 20s had entered the water close to Rossall School, Broadway, between Thornton-Cleveleys and Fleetwood.

On Sunday evening they confirmed a body had been found on the beach, believed to be that of a 29-year-old man from Bolton. 

Claire Hughes, director of HM Coastguard, said: “We can’t emphasise this enough – the sea has no respect for whether you’re local or not and whether you’re experienced or not.

“Please always check weather conditions and tide times before going out. The Coastguard will always respond to 999 and do all we can to get people home and safe.

“But be careful. Think twice about what you’re doing at the coast that might put you, your family and friends and even those who come to rescue you in danger. Watch out for each other and those you love. Get home safe.

“We’ve seen too many tragedies already this summer and we’re sad for those whose families have been left heartbroken by the loss.”

The Coastguard is advising visitors to the beach to check tide times and to be aware of sea currents, hidden depths and rip currents.

The rescue service also recommends that inflatables should not be used and for people to ensure they have fully-charged phones with 999 being the emergency contact number for the Coastguard.

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