Birling Gap cliff edge ‘wedding couple’ spark warning

People at Birling Gap Image copyright Sue Lockhart
Image caption This picture was taken from the car park at Birling Gap, a popular tourist spot on the south coast
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Fresh warnings about the dangers of the south coast’s crumbling chalk cliffs have been made after a couple were seen apparently posing for a wedding shot at Birling Gap.

The National Trust and coastguards have repeatedly warned that the chalk can collapse without warning.

Signage using words and symbols is in place to warn people, the charity said.

It comes days after a man was seen holding a child inches from the edge at Seven Sisters, near Eastbourne.

Sue Lockhart said she took the picture from the car park at Birling Gap, adding: “I could not believe my eyes.”

Ms Lockhart said she saw what she believed to be a newly married couple “right on the edge of the cliffs, with another guy lying down looking over the edge”.

She said she gave the picture to the BBC to reinforce safety warnings, adding: “We have got to keep driving home the message.”

A spokeswoman for the National Trust, which owns Birling Gap and Seven Sisters, said: “The cliffs are unstable in places and there are undercuts in the chalk, which people may be unaware of from the top.”

She said: “We want people to enjoy this special place, but to do so safely. We have signage, warning people of the cliffs, at the points where a visitor enters an area with an unfenced edge.”

Image copyright LNP
Image caption Last month, a man was spotted lifting a child to peer down below

Coastguards regularly urge people to keep 5m (16ft) away from the edge and also to stay away from the cliff base in case the chalk falls, while geologists have said cracks can stretch back 10m (33ft) to 15m (49ft) into the cliffs.

In 2017, 50,000 tonnes of the cliff crumbled at Seven Sisters and fell on to the beach below.

The following day a 23-year-old South Korean tourist, Hyewon Kim, fell to her death when she jumped in the air for a picture and lost her footing on the edge.

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