The safety equipment had been installed by the CRO in Kingsdale. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The safety equipment had been installed by the CRO in Kingsdale. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Vital safety equipment placed underground in the Yorkshire Dales by a rescue team has been stolen.

The Clapham-based Cave Rescue Organisation condemned the theft of ropes and carabiners that it had installed in a cave in Kingsdale.

The CRO said it had placed the highline traverse in Kingsdale Master Cave in preparation for this month’s European Speleological Congress which is taking place in the area.

The team said the highline traverse enables safe access and exit in the event of major flooding in the Kingsdale system.

A spokesperson said: “Upon inspection, it was found that a substantial section of the traverse rope had been removed, together with many of the carabiners holding it in place.

“The theft of the equipment is being reported to North Yorkshire Police. The Cave Rescue Organisation condemns most strongly the removal of this essential safety equipment, which potentially places the lives of team members and other cavers at risk, and urge any member of the public with knowledge of this theft to contact the police.

“During Euro Speleo there are going to be many cavers in the area from all parts of Britain and Europe, and the team will as usual be available to deal with any incident which may occur, whether below or above ground.”

Euro Speleo, which takes place from 13-20 August, is described as a week-long festival of British Caving and includes lectures, field trips, training sessions and workshops, along with caving in pre-rigged systems.

The annual Craven Pothole Club winch will also be set up for cavers and non-cavers to go down Gaping Gill on the flanks of Ingleborough.

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