A MAN who ended up falling into a large hole while passing a building site believes someone may have tampered with metal safety barriers.

Edward Betts said it was too dark to see the hole, which he estimated to be about five foot deep, until he fell into it while walking back to his home in Wakeman Street, Barbourne on Sunday evening.

He claims safety barriers had been moved back leaving the hole exposed outside St Modwen Homes' Gregory's Bank development on Sunday evening.

The building company said it had a number of health and safety measures and procedures in place at the site including metal safety barriers to create safe pathways which were checked daily to ensure people's safety.

St Modwen Homes has taken further measures to protect the area since the incident.

Mr Betts, a charity shop volunteer, said: "One minute I was walking down the road and the next minute I was in the hole.

"I was listening to music but didn't have my phone in my hands, I just hadn't seen the barrier had been pushed back and got on to the path thinking it would be safer than being on the road.

"I was just in shock to be honest. I couldn't believe I was in there.

"I called my girlfriend and told her I had a bit of an accident and was stuck in a hole.

"I managed to grab hold of loose gravel to pull myself out.

"Luckily, I hadn't hurt myself seriously but my shoes and coat were covered in mud - I think my clothing stopped me from getting more serious bruising - and my back was sore the next day."

Mr Betts, aged 23, said the area needed to be better lit and Guy Gusterson, managing director at St Modwen Homes, said they would be reviewing the lighting and securing the barrier to the hoarding so it cannot be moved.

Mr Betts said if someone had been tampering with the barrier they might not have realised the danger they had left behind for other pedestrians.

"If it was someone else who moved it I don't think they understand how dangerous it could potentially be.

"I was pretty much unscathed but there is an estate close by where children play and elderly people walk their dogs down here too.

"If they had fallen into it I would hate to think what could have happened particularly as it was such a cold night."

Mr Gusterson, from St Modwen Homes, added: “We would urge everyone to use the safe pedestrian routes provided by these barriers, as well as taking notice of the safety messages and signage around the site.

“Following the reporting of this incident we have taken further steps to protect the area in question including reviewing lighting in the area and securing the pedestrian barrier to our hoarding so that it cannot be moved.

"I would like to remind people that building sites can be dangerous places and safety precautions must not be tampered with.”