The videos were shot in Coppermines Valley, Coniston. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The videos were shot in Coppermines Valley, Coniston. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Rescuers in the Lake District said urban explorers who ventured into disused mines were putting themselves in danger.

It followed the posting of videos online of a group of men filming themselves in disused underground workings in Coniston Coppermines Valley.

The Cumbria Ore Mines Rescue Unit and Coniston Mountain Rescue Team issued a statement condemning the men’s actions.

Comru, which is a specialist rescue team whose members carry out mine rescues in the Lake District and surrounding areas, said the YouTube videos show a group of people illegally driving up to a mine entrance and then descending with a total lack of equipment – not even a hard hat – before then crossing deep shafts on planks while giving out misleading information about the mine environment.

“Their YouTube followers naturally are impressed by their bravado and our worry is that the unwary will try and follow suit or try to outdo their ‘bravado’,” a team spokesperson said.

In a joint statement, the two teams said: “We are aware, not for the first time, of videos circulating on social media that show people, inexperienced in underground exploration, filming themselves going down disused mines in Cumbria.

“We would like to remind them that the mountain rescue and underground rescue teams are volunteers who attend thousands of rescues every year. It is a privilege to be able to save the lives of those respectfully exploring our beautiful countryside, who find themselves in danger through no fault of their own.

“However, it is heartbreaking when we are called to extremely dangerous conditions for people who have deliberately put themselves in needless danger. These rescues cost us all time away from our families and every rescue puts our own lives in danger.

“The videos in question show the participants’ inexperience and lack of respect for the environment and also displays an absence of professional equipment and safe techniques.

“In this instance they were extremely lucky to not need to call us, but many in the same situation have had to make that call. Some have even lost their lives. We cannot see how the gain is worth the risk.

“For those who support content like this, our message is: there is already plenty of footage of mine visits by properly equipped people who actually know what they are doing and also know what they are talking about. Why is that not enough?

“So many aspects of disused mines have the potential for trouble. These videos are encouraging other people to potentially risk our team’s lives. It’s all fun until the unthinkable happens.”

Rescuers pointed out anyone heading for the hills can find information on the Adventure Smart website.

More details on Coniston Coppermines can be seen on the Lake District National Park Authority’s website.

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