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Pokemon Go players steal boat to chase creature across lake

Published 19/07/2016

The driver was fined for using his mobile phone at the wheel
The driver was fined for using his mobile phone at the wheel

A group of Pokemon Go players stole a boat in the middle of the night to chase one of the fictional creatures across a lake, according to the coastguard.

Around 20 youngsters apparently took the rowing vessel out onto New Brighton marine lake, Merseyside, in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

"Catching Pokemon Go took a not-so-fun turn when the UK Coastguard was called to investigate reports of a group of 20 youths taking a rowing boat without permission, to chase a Pokemon across New Brighton marine lake," a spokesman said.

The Wirral Coastguard Rescue Team issued a warning after the group fled the scene, abandoning the boat to drift into the middle of the marina.

Danny Jameson, senior coastal operations officer, said: "We know that many people are enjoying Pokemon Go across the UK and we wouldn't want to spoil that fun.

"However, we would ask people to use a little common sense and not to take risks while looking for Pokemon.

"The incident this morning shows that risk taking can put not only you in danger, but also the rescue services who have to come to your aid."

It is the latest in a series of incidents involving Pokemon Go players putting themselves in danger.

A 27-year-old motorist suspected of playing while driving on a busy ring road in Stourbridge, West Midlands, was fined by police on Monday.

In a tweet, West Midlands Police traffic officers said: "Male caught Stourbridge ring road on mobile phone, we suspect Pokemon but the ticket will poke this 'mon' into not using Pokemon GO."

The force said in a statement: "He was issued a fixed penalty notice ticket and has been reported to the traffic process office."

One fan of the game dialled 999 and got through to Gloucestershire Police to report someone had "stolen their Pokemon".

Stirling Police in Scotland tweeted the warning: "Just to be clear, 'I was looking for a Pokestop' is not an acceptable reason for being on the roof of a shop with a crowbar at 2am!"

Nottinghamshire Police said they had received seven calls in the past week relating to "suspicious activity", when in each of the cases it was just gamers playing Pokemon Go.

They included two teenage boys who accidentally spread fear among villagers in Normanton on Soar as they searched for Pokemon by torchlight in the early hours of July 12.

A security alert was triggered at Leicestershire Police headquarters on July 15 when players gathered at the site, and three students had their phones stolen in a park in Hulme, Manchester, on Saturday while they were using the gaming app - prompting safety warnings from UK police forces and the National Crime Agency.

The game sees people travel around the real world, using their mobile phones to capture and train creatures known as Pokemon.

It is the latest incident to involve the global gaming craze which has gripped players since its release earlier this month.

App creator Niantic said: "We take player safety seriously and want everybody to have a fantastic time exploring while safely playing Pokemon Go.

"We encourage all people to be aware of their surroundings and to play with friends or family, especially when you're exploring unfamiliar places.

"Please remember to be safe and alert at all times, don't drive and play, abide by local laws, and respect the locations you visit and people you meet during your exploration."

Mountain safety experts said that while the game was a fun way of encouraging people to enjoy the outdoors it could pose risks.

Heather Morning, mountain safety adviser with the Mountaineering Council of Scotland, said: " It is not difficult to imagine a situation where a Pokemon Go gamer finds themselves lost and unable to find their way back to safety.

"It would be equally easy to see how someone could put themselves into danger focusing on their game rather than focusing on the ground in front of them."

She added: "It's a fun game, and it does encourage folk to get out and about and enjoy the great outdoors with all the health benefits that brings.

"However, gamers need to be aware if they are playing in an area that they are not familiar with - particularly in the mountains - that they should very much stay switched on to where they are and how to get themselves home safely."

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