REDDITCH Council has joined calls to heed the dangers of swimming in rivers and ponds following the death of a 15-year-old boy in Redditch.

The young man, named by police as local resident Richard Fellows, was confirmed dead at the Alexandra Hospital on Sunday, March 16, after getting into difficulties in a pool by a weir near to a part of the River Arrow known locally as the Five Tunnels.

Redditch Borough Council deputy chief executive and chairman of the North Worcestershire Community Safety Partnership Sue Hanley said: “We are shocked and saddened by this incident and our thoughts are with Richard’s friends and family at this time.

"It is a tragic reminder of the risks of swimming in open water, which can be incredibly dangerous. Even the strongest of swimmers can get into difficulties with the cold and invisible currents.

“It’s especially tragic following incidents across the county last year, including a near miss at this location.”

Redditch councillor Rebecca Blake, who is responsible for community safety, said: “Our thoughts are with the family and friends of this young man who tragically lost his life having drowned in open water.

“It's a devastating tragedy. I've met with my community safety team today to understand fully what happened yesterday and the council, police, fire service and other partners will continue to work together. In particular, we want to reach out to as many young people as possible and make sure they know just how dangerous open water can be.”