POLICE were right to fine a 'foolish' swimmer who jumped in a flooded Worcester river says the city's MP.

Worcester MP Robin Walker has backed police action after a constituent complained the man should not have been fined.

We reported last month how a man jumped off the main bridge in Worcester wearing nothing but his boxer shorts before swimming towards Diglis, sparking a major rescue operation involving three emergency services.

Around 20 firefighters (four crews) were dispatched to the scene and remained there for close to two hours as boats swept the river, searching for the man.

However, city resident Andrew Brown, who accepted the swimmer had been 'foolish', has written a letter of complaint to West Mercia Police's professional standards department and also to Worcester MP, Robin Walker.

In his letters Mr Brown argued that the man, who handed himself in after a police appeal, should not have faced any punishment for either a public order offence or under Covid regulations.

The 36-year-old swimmer was videoed diving into the river before swimming towards Diglis where he clambered out, leading to a police appeal to trace him.

West Mercia Police has said the swimming was not 'permitted exercise' during the pandemic, especially after he had travelled from the South West.

Rescue boats combed the river looking for him and police, the fire service and two ambulances also rushed to the scene on Thursday, January 28.

The man got in touch with police and was formally interviewed in respect of offences for a Coronavirus Legislation Breach and a breach of public order legislation 'relating to his actions of diving from the main river bridge of the River Severn into deep and dangerous flood water'.

Following this interview the man has been issued with Fixed Penalty tickets under both legislations.

Writing to Mr Brown, Robin Walker said: "I appreciate your concerns on this issue and that you believe the incident does not meet the criteria to either a public order offence or a Covid-19 breach.

"The decision to proceed with enforcement action is an operational matter for West Mercia Police and it would be inappropriate for me as a member of Parliament to intervene in such matters."

He added: "Nonetheless, this incident involved diving into dangerous water and did trigger a significant emergency response at a time when there is considerable pressure on our emergency services and these resources could have been put to better use."

Mr Walker went on to say that the swimmer travelling from the South West to swim was contrary to the guidance about exercising locally.

He added: "If the individual concerned is unhappy with the police response to this incident or the fixed penalty notices that he received, he is able to make a complaint and challenge these decisions should he wish to do so.

"However, given the unnecessary nature and foolishness of this incident, I am of the view that the police response was proportionate based on the information I have available."