YOUNGSTERS have been jumping into the sea from a groyne despite repeated warnings to be careful on the coast during lockdown.

They were spotted yesterday, throwing themselves from the structure near Brighton Palace Pier into the water below.

The dangerous practice is called tombstoning.

Lockdown measures were eased earlier this month, allowing people to spend time in public places such as parks and the beach so long as they stuck to social distancing guidelines and stayed at least two metres away from anyone who they did not live with.

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These also enabled people to go swimming.

But HM Coastguard and the RNLI have both urged people to be cautious when taking to the water as there are no lifeguards patrolling the beaches during lockdown.

The lifeboat charity’s chief executive said the easing of lockdown rules had put crews in an “impossible situation” in which they had to “choose whether to put our lifeguards or the public at risk”.

He said: “Despite our warnings that there were no lifeguards on patrol this weekend, crowded beaches, hot weather and big waves meant our lifeboat crews had their busiest weekend so far this year. At least two people lost their lives.

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“This puts the RNLI in an impossible situation. With thousands flocking to English beaches now lockdown restrictions have been eased, we must strike a balance that keeps the public and our lifeguards safe.

“Safety advice and warnings will only go so far when people are desperate to enjoy some freedom after weeks of lockdown. But, as a lifesaving charity, the RNLI cannot stop people going to beaches.

“No one is to blame for the situation we find ourselves in. We’re asking everyone to help manage an impossible situation, so please follow our safety advice and think before you head to the coast.”

Even out of lockdown, tombstoning has been condemned as a hazardous act.

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An RNLI spokesman said: “We realise that it’s tempting to jump from height into the water, especially with such great weather but submerged items may not be visible and could cause serious injury if you hit them. The shock of cold water may also make it difficult to swim and in some places strong currents might sweep you away.

“A safer alternative is coasteering with a registered coasteering provider able to give you the necessary training and equipment.