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Warning to parents after boy breaks back while trespassing

Police have teamed up with the mother of a boy who broke his back while trespassing to urge parents to know where their children are at all times this summer. The 15-year-old from Marshalls Cross fell at least 20 feet from a sky light on to the concrete floor of a derelict building on the Ravenhead Works site in St Helens. He was one of more than 40 young people who had been trespassing at the privately-owned site close to the town centre when the accident happened two weeks ago. Police officers, paramedics and fire fighters with specialist lighting equipment all responded to the call for help from one of the group and then spent several hours searching the site to make sure no other young people had come to harm. The 15-year-old was taken to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital where has was found to have fractured his back. He has since been discharged but now has to wear a back brace to prevent more serious injuries occurring while he spends the summer holidays slowly recovering. Now his mum, Kelly McCormick, and the police in St Helens are urging parents to know where their child is and who they are hanging around with at all times to prevent another serious incident occurring. Neighbourhood sergeant Neil Birkett said: “This situation has almost resulted in a young man being paralysed. It is only through sheer good fortune that he did not suffer a spinal injury. To fall 20 feet and land on your back is extremely serious and it goes to show what a dangerous place the Ravenhead Works is for anyone to be, let alone children. "The site is secured by a fence but we believe a large group of young people either found a gap or forced entry and spent Friday night there drinking alcohol and possibly taking drugs. This young man has somehow fallen through one of the man holes in the roof of the main building and been helped to the edge of site before being left behind as the group panicked and scattered. "I would not want my child hanging around somewhere so dangerous in the first place, let alone when you add alcohol and drugs into the mix. This incident has caused the victim and his family a great deal of distress and we want to prevent anyone else going through this again. We are delighted that Ms McCormick has agreed to work with us on getting this message out and I hope other parents will listen to what she has to say and take the advice on board." The injured teenager's mum, Kelly McCormick, who works as an A&E nurse, said: "When I got a call from the police that Friday night to say my son had been in an accident I felt sick and angry at the same time. I was terrified at what his injuries could be and angry that he and his mates had put themselves in that dangerous situation. "The police calmed me down and took me to the hospital and I saw him lying there in resus waiting for a CT scan. It was horrible to see my son lying there like that with a broken back. "He's now got to wear a back brace for the next eight weeks to help his injury to heal and so he can't play football or go out anywhere so it's really ruined his summer holidays and given us all a shock. "It could have been far worse. He could have been left paralysed or even died. My advice to other parents is know where your kids are this summer. Tell them to avoid hanging around in the wrong places and with the wrong people so this doesn't happen to them." To help keep young people safe in St Helens town centre and to deter them from getting involved in anti-social behaviour, local officers will be making full use of dispersal powers to order the ring-leaders out of the area. If they return they can be arrested. Officers will also be returning anyone they find to be vulnerable in some way such as their young age, what substances they have taken, back home to their parents or guardians. Police have also met with the owners of the Ravenhead Works, known locally as ‘The Factories’, to discuss the reinforcing of the perimeter fence and other security measures.

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