Thieves have been putting people’s lives at risk by stealing life belts at Horbury Lagoon for the second summer running.
Three teenagers have died in the lagoon’s deep water since 1995.
And Wakefield Council has been urged people not to tamper with the life belts, which have been found removed from their boxes and piled up elsewhere on the site on two separate occasions.
Glynn Humphries, Wakefield Council’s Service Director for Cleaner and Greener, said: “This is second summer running that we have had people tampering with or even stealing the life belts at Horbury Lagoon.
“Interfering in any way with these ring puts people’s lives at risks and causes serious concern to local residents We have already seen fatalities in this lagoon. We don’t want to see any further tragedies.”
Horbury Lagoon, a former gravel pit, claimed the lives of Stuart Kemp, 18, in 1995, Denis Nadarevic, 16, in 2004 and Shaun Hall, 18, in 2007.
Mr Humphries said: “We take a zero tolerance approach to reckless behaviour which puts lives at risk. We will report any criminal behaviour to the police and we need the public’s help to gather information so we can investigate any anti-social behaviour at Horbury Lagoon.
“We carry out regular checks to make sure that life belts are intact and in place and there are signs warning people not to enter the water. We want everyone to be aware of the dangers of swimming, boating and even camping in places like this. These activities should only be carried out in places where it is safe to do so.
“If you enter open water not designated as safe for swimming, you have no idea what is lurking under the surface and you can be in real danger of drowning or severe injury. This is why having life belts available and clearly visible is so vitally important in emergencies. I urge people to stay out of the water and stay safe.”