NEW powers to clamp down on trespassers in a Malvern Hills quarry came a step closer to reality this week.

Malvern Hills District Council is considering adopting a Public Space Protection Order to cover the Gullet Quarry, off Castlemorton Common, where several people have drowned in the lake in recent years.

If the order is approved, anyone who goes through the perimeter fence or enters the water, or who drinks alcohol in the area, will be subject to a £100 fixed penalty, which could rise to £1,000 if taken to court.

At Tuesday’s meeting of the council’s executive committee, members voted unanimously to to launch a public consultation on the proposal, as the first step towards making the order.

Committee chairman Sarah Rouse said: “The importance of preventing any more young people dying and supporting both the police and the Malvern Hills Trust were the key concerns.

“No one wants to see further tragedy at the Gullet Quarry.

“We were pleased to hear a wide-ranging package of measures has been put together, with education a key player.”

Committee members heard that despite patrols by the police, fire service and Malvern Hills Trust wardens in the summer, there are still frequent instances of people getting into the lake to swim.

The order is available under the Anti Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

Under the bye-laws that cover the trust’s land, entry into the fenced-out area, and swimming in the quarry itself are unlawful. However, attempts to enforce these bye-laws have proved difficult to implement.