THE Coastguard warned a new craze spreading via social media websites could cost lives last night after the Redcar lifeboat crew was called out to reports of a teenager threatening to jump into the sea.
Cleveland Police sounded the alarm after the teenager posted his intention to leap from Saltburn Pier online but he was later discovered at home.
He is thought to have been playing Neknominate, a craze thought to have originated in Australia where young people are “nominated” to down strong drinks and carry out dares.
Earlier this week the death of a teenager from Carlow in the Irish Republic was linked to the game. Jonny Byrne, 19, drowned after he jumped in a river while taking part in a stunt.
Speaking after the incident at Saltburn Pier, Humber Coastguard watch manager Bev Allen said: “The craze of neknominate is spreading virally through Facebook but before accepting your mission please just stop and think about what you are doing.
“If you have been drinking, your judgement will be impaired and you will be more likely to be overcome by the cold, dark sea. Your acceptance of the dare is highly likely to be life threatening.
“Alcohol is a contributory factor in a significant number of coastal drownings every year.”
The warning came after Durham Police said it was investigating an incident which saw a 21-year-old woman ride a horse into a Tesco store in Bishop Auckland before drinking a can of soft drink.
The episode on Monday, which was captured on video and posted online, saw her turning to a camera to nominate friends to complete their own Neknomination challenge, as well as a security guard at the store.
The woman, Inky Ralph, said: “It was something nobody else had done. It was just harmless fun. Everybody seems to find it really funny.
“I have had messages from as far as Australia and people are calling me a legend.”
But Chief Inspector Sue Robinson, of Durham Police, said: “At this stage we are trying to establish what criminal offences might have been committed and discussions have taken place with the RSPCA in regards to the welfare of the horse.
“It goes without saying this was a senseless and foolish thing to do.”