Concerns have been raised over security at a rail depot where a 15-year-old boy was blinded by an explosive detonator he found there.
‘Found’ there? Was he a junior apprentice? A work experience lad?
Residents and councillors were alarmed to learn youths regularly got into the Network Rail depot – near a popular skatepark – through a gap in the fence behind Leigh station.
Just a vandal and a (incompetent) thief.
Still doesn’t seem to have stopped the usual chorus of ‘Something must be done!’-ers, though.
Caroline Parker, chairman of Leigh Town Council’s transport and highways committee and member of its youth facilities working party, said: “It’s absolutely tragic.
“Obviously any explosive, and anything that would prove to be a danger to life, should be locked up.
“We were totally unaware anything like that was kept at the back of the park.”
We’ll come back to the issue of the depot’s apparent disregard for H&S later…
Youths who use the skate park said they removed two fence struts and regularly got in through the gap, which was hastily repaired on Sunday.
In other words, when it came to light, following the publicity about the accident.
Pat Holden, chairman of Leigh Town Council, said youngsters there told her they actually had a “den” on the depot site.
She said a woman claiming to be the injured boy’s mother called her to say the teenagers found the detonators in a skip on the site.
Mrs Holden said: “Why wasn’t something done about the hole in the fence?
“It doesn’t sound terribly good.”
It seems they did do something about the hole in the fence, when they learned about it. I presume you’d be happy to pay increased fares for Network Rail to maintain a billion-strong army of fence checkers surrounding every
square foot of fence they have, right?
What’s that? You wouldn’t?
Mike King, of nearby Marine Parade, said: “I’m just astonished they kept these detonators somewhere they can be relatively easily accessed.
“They should be in a building under a lock and key.”
Should they? Maybe.
But while we’re talking about things that ‘should’ happen, teenagers should
stay the other side of the fence, hmm?
Jordan Martin, 19, whose family owns the nearby Leigh Golf Driving Range, said: “It’s ridiculous.
“Doesn’t anyone check anything?”
Ah, right. Remind me to quote you should someone break into Leigh Golf Driving Range and injure themselves with a carelessly discarded putter, eh?
Tony Cox, Southend councillor responsible for public protection and transport, said: “Obviously it’s concerning if there are gaps in the fence and the appropriate bodies will take action to make it as secure as possible.”
Needless to say, in the comments, there’s few willing to fight the lad’s corner.
A couple of people do have some good points to make about the dangerousness of the detonators, though.
Kentish Alex says...
No the kids should not have been there but NORMAL boys do that sort of thing. I did, sneaking into Shoebury Garrison via the beach some 30 years ago and climbing around half built houses and I come from a “nice” family, not a sink estate. Yes, the lad was a fool to put something with the word "Explosive" on it onto a fire. However, did the lad really think that something quite so dangerous would have been left laying about? Elf and Safety is so over used that it has become meaningless and real risks are hard to tell from theoretic ones unless you are in the know. Kids cant buy Christmas Crackers for example as they are "explosives".
Being a lad means taking risks and learning how to judge risk is part of growing up. This time it went tragically wrong. These devices could have caused mayhem in hands more malicious than these boys.
I hope, as they say, "lessons will be learned" to prevent such accidents again. I also hope he recovers and gets his sight back for, there but the grace of God, have been most teenagers.
And as for the licensing and storage…
I'm not sure how careless the depot has been: those signals don't require an explosives certificate:
That's a life-changing injury for the boy, but I think his emotional well-being may be best served by accepting that it was nobody's fault but his own.
But hey, this wouldn’t be a local newspaper comment section without a contribution from the shallow end of the gene pool. Would it?
leigh resident says...
Honestly have all you self righteous people never done anything u shouldn't?? Honestly??? Do u not remember what it is like to be 15???? Sure they shouldn't have been there but have a heart the boy is blind he did not deserve that. When you are young you don't think about consequences that comes with maturity which 15yearold boys don't have my heart goes out to him and his family , my son goes to the same school and I can confirm he is a lovely kid not a troublemaker not a yob not an intimidating gangmember just a typical teen that made a mistake get better soon mate x
Which brings this interesting retort:
asbo uncut says...
you're calling this child "mate" and you are the parent of this boy's friend. maybe parents need to stop being "mates" to their kids and focus on being parents.
Quite on the nose, but nonetheless true…