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16 February 2011, 10:31
A new DVD is being launched in Dover to try to deter school children and young people from the potentially deadly craze of tomb-stoning.
The practice involves jumping from cliffs, piers or jetties in to the sea without knowing how deep the water is.
The film, put together by Port of Dover police, features 23 year old former soldier Sonny Wells who was left paralysed after leaping from a pier into 3ft of water in Hampshire in 2008. In the footage he speaks about his life has changed and his battle to overcome his injuries.
He says: "I now rely on others to cook and wash for me, and being someone who was previously always active and independent, it's difficult spending my life in a wheelchair.
"Looking back, I ask myself whether the five minutes of madness were worth spending the rest of my life in a wheelchair for.''
His mother Jacqui Unal, says: ``It has changed everybody's lives forever, not only his but those around him too. It has had a massive impact on all of us. We know that we can't stop all youngsters and adults from tomb-stoning but if we can stop just a few of them from doing it then it would've been worthwhile."
In the past two years, six people have died as a result of tomb-stoning and there have been 22 serious injuries.
Temporary Chief Inspector Neil Care, of Port of Dover Police, said: "Tomb-stoning is a phenomenon that takes place the length and breadth of the country every year and sadly often ends in tragedy.
"This powerful DVD is aimed at educating those that may be tempted to participate in tomb-stoning and highlights the dangers and potential implications surrounding the activity. If it saves just one life it will be worth it.''
The tomb-stoning scheme is the first of its kind, and the Port of Dover Police will take it to schools and local community groups in the area.