Call for safety probe after boy hurt in fall at derelict shipyard site

Firefighters at the former Hawthorn Leslie buildings in Hebburn.
Firefighters at the former Hawthorn Leslie buildings in Hebburn.
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A concerned councillor is calling for a safety probe after a teenage boy was hospitalised in a fall from a derelict danger spot.

A rescue mission was sparked when the 15-year-old plunged from a crumbling walkway at the former Hawthorn Leslie building, in Ellison Street, Hebburn, on Thursday afternoon.

Coun Alan Kerr

Coun Alan Kerr

Firefighters were called out to rescue the stricken youngster from the roof of the site before he was taken to hospital with two suspected fractured ankles.

Fire crews have turned out to a spate of incidents in recent years – including a string of arson attacks from firebugs breaking into the building.

Now Monkton ward councillor Alan Kerr, who is South Tyneside Council’s deputy leader, says security must be bolstered to keep intruders out – for their own safety.

Coun Kerr said: “It is really concerning. We need to stop people getting in the site. I am going to talk to our council officer and the three ward councillors in Hebburn North to see what we can do.

“There needs to be a full investigation. We need to see what we can do to make the site as safe as it can be.”

Coun Kerr has also vowed to speak to building owners, Lancashire-based property firm MMC Development Limited over his concerns.

Hawthorn Leslie closed in 1982 and was later acquired by Cammell Laird and A & P group, but has lay derelict for the past 10 years.

Its listed building status was removed last year after an application by South Tyneside Council to English Heritage, paving the way for future development on the site.