Youngsters have been “taking their lives in their hands” by ignoring warnings not to jump off of Houghton lock.

Police have made several visits to the lock over the course of the last week following calls from concerned members of the public, who have witnessed youngsters climbing to the top of the lock gate before jumping into the water.

Swimmers have flocked to the site in a bid to cool off as temperatures have risen above 30 degrees, but are ignoring warning signs and advice from the police against doing so.

Chris Shaw, from St Ives police station, said: “Police were called to Houghton lock on Saturday afternoon (July 21) following a report of a group of teenagers jumping into the water whilst boats were attempting to pass through.

“Officers spoke to the group who were in their early teens and explained the dangers, but felt that the message may not have got through.”

Mr Shaw said officers returned to the site the following Monday amid reports that youngsters were climbing the lock gate before diving into the water.

He added: “[Officers] again explained the dangers to the group of youngsters that they found there, although some had left prior to police arrival.”

A member of the public who contacted the Hunts Post said the swimmers were “taking their lives in their hands” by diving from the gate.

She said: “My partner and I came along the river by boat with family for a quiet boat trip, and were shocked to see the crazy activity around the lock.

“The Environment Agency has placed notices in the lock area, stating that entry is for navigators and boat users only. There are also signs warning of the dangers of swimming in the lock due to the under currents created by changing water levels.

“However, not only are the teens ignoring these signs, they are playing 'chicken' with boats coming into and out of the locks. Jumping from the bridge is apparently not enough of a thrill, and they are now taking their lives into their hands by climbing to the top of the steel gate. Do their parents know what they are doing?”