ANYONE tempted by the improving weather and lighter evenings to take a dip in rivers and reservoirs is being warned not to.

Ahead of the Bank Holiday weekend, Worcester City Council is reminding the public that rivers, reservoirs and lakes have been responsible for many tragedies over the years.

Just last summer, 17-year-old Russell O'Neill, from Ronkswood in Worcester, and Justas Juzenas, 22, from Ross-on-Wye in south Herefordshire, died within six days of each other in the waters of Gullet Quarry near the Malvern Hills.

The city council says hazards below the surface of the River Severn can include trees, debris from wrecked boats and other large items like shopping trollies.

It says jumping into extremely cold water can also cause the body to go into shock.

“We understand why a cooling swim might be tempting but we want to remind people how dangerous it is to swim in rivers and reservoirs," said Julian Stevenson, health and safety officer at the city council.

“It is often not possible to fully gauge the depths of the water or the prevailing currents. Where water levels are unknown, jumping and diving into water can cause serious injury.

“The water can also be very cold, in stark contrast to the warm air and body temperatures on land.

"The sudden change in temperature can create serious problems for would-be swimmers and is often the cause of drowning.”

He said the council strongly advises people to resist temptation and stay out of rivers and reservoirs even if the water levels are low and the river seems slow.