RESIDENTS are being warned about the dangers of reservoir swimming as temperatures soar ahead of the school holidays.

United Utilities, which owns reservoirs across dozens of beauty spots in the region, has released an urgent safety message highlighting the possibility of drowning as a result of trips to reservoirs.

Mark Seymour, the company's catchment manager for Manchester, said: “Open water swimmers have been noticed at a few of our reservoirs recently. They turn up in wet suits, and ignore the fact that swimming is prohibited.

“Not only should they know better than to ignore the warning signs but they’re also setting a dangerous example because young people might see them and get the wrong impression that it’s safe.

“These swimmers could be the cause of another drowning tragedy. It’s extremely irresponsible.”

Last year, the death of 14-year-old Adam Kay, from Kearsley, prompted changes to be made after he died while getting into difficulties in the River Irwell at Clifton Country Park.

And in June 2018, Dominic McLoughlin, who lived in Breightmet, died aged 21 after going for a swim in High Rid Reservoir, Lostock.

According to the Royal Life Saving Society UK, around 44 per cent of accidental drownings happen between May and August - and more than 80 per cent of victims are male.

School closures during the Covid-19 lockdowns also mean millions of young people have missed out on water safety education.

United Utilities’ safety director, Paula Steer, said: “A reservoir drowning is devastating to witness - many of my team have never recovered from the experience. For the families involved, the loss and grief they feel is unimaginable.

“What makes it even more tragic is that it is such a waste of a life, and something that should have been prevented.

“Regardless of how warm the weather is, our advice is crystal clear. A quick cool off in one of our reservoirs could be fatal. Cold water shock can kill even strong swimmers in just 60 seconds. Don’t risk it.”

The company has signage at all of its reservoirs explaining the dangers of swimming and runs a safety campaign every year. Previous campaigns have included a ‘horror-style’ film and a moving play inspired by the deaths of two North West teenagers.

The company has also installed 'throwlines' at 20 locations across eight reservoirs in the region, each dedicated to the memory of someone who lost their life.