Large sewers covered in Northampton after Kingsthorpe 'urban explorers' prompt review

A water company has taken extra safety precautions to cover large manholes with screens after three boys were pulled from the town’s sewer system last July.

Tuesday, 19th March 2019, 10:52 am
Updated Tuesday, 19th March 2019, 11:01 am
Emergency services attended the incident in Kingsthorpe on July 9 2018, bringing traffic in the area to a halt.

A multi-agency operation involving fire crews, police office and the ambulance service saw a rescue plan get underway in Northampton in July after three boys became lost and trapped in the town's drainage system.

The boys were eventually found and rescued in the Kingsthorpe area during the operation and road closures were put in place in Kingsthorpe Road and Washington Street.

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"A group of young explorers became stuck in our sewer network in Northampton last year. Luckily, they were rescued without harm, but the situation could have ended differently.

“Although most of our sewers are not big enough for people to enter, they all contain wastewater and operational equipment which makes them dark and dangerous - not a place to explore.”

"We evaluated all of our assets and decided that the largest ones were the most important ones to cover first and they have been fitted with screens to prevent access."

Urban exploring, sometimes called urbex, is the exploration and scaling of man-made structures, usually abandoned buildings, often with the aim of photographing them.

The growth of urban exploring on social media and an increase in people seeking out dangerous or exposed locations has led to concerns that young people could be injured or killed trying to emulate what they have seen online.

Is Urban Exploring illegal?

While trespass is generally a civil matter, criminal charges of causing alarm and distress can be made against those climbing structures if they cause onlookers to fear they may fall.

Damage caused by a trespasser may be considered a criminal offence.

Criminal behaviour orders can also be made prohibiting activities such as the climbing of man-made structures or accessing specific sites.