Danger warning after children seen playing at Kinglassie opencast site

© DC ThomsonThe former opencast site at Westfield.
The former opencast site at Westfield.

A worried Kinglassie woman has issued a warning to parents after droves of children have been seen entering the Westfield Opencast.

Shirley Inglis has noticed parents dropping youngsters off at the end of her farm road before they make their way on foot to the former coal mine.

The 52-year-old has challenged individuals in recent weeks but fears her words of warning are falling on deaf ears.

Mrs Inglis, who has lived near the site for 13 years, said: “It tends to be more of a problem during half-decent weather or school holidays.

“The kids tend to wander along from the edge of the village, along the farm road, and go into the opencast. It’s one of the largest man-made holes in Europe and it’s so dangerous.

“There are keep out signs around it but people just ignore them. I worry that some parents don’t know where their kids are actually going and the danger they’re putting themselves in.

“When you go along there, you stand at the end of the verge and it’s a sheer drop into loads and loads of water. There’s weeds underneath.

“We’ve seen kids actually making rafts and playing in the water. Recently we’ve had parents coming along in cars, dropping the kids off and then leaving them there.

“There was an occasion about two weeks ago when a mum was dropping two young guys off and I asked them where they were going.

“They said they were going along the road to the Opencast. I tried to explain that it wasn’t a good idea but they just kept walking.

“I stopped the woman and asked her if she knew where they were going. I told her what was along there and she spent about the next 40 minutes trying to raise the boys on the phone.”

Mrs Inglis, who also reported problems with fire-starting and off-road motorbikes at the site, added: “It’s not that you’re trying to be a party pooper but one of these days, and it has happened in other places, somebody’s child is going to die.

“The emergency services would definitely not get in there without a struggle.”

The grounds have lain dormant since 1998 having previously been mined for more than 40 years.

Fife councillors last year granted planning permission in principle for a major new industrial hub to be developed on the 423-hectare site.

Plans include a solar energy park, a waste recovery and recycling unit, light industrial units and agricultural greenhouse.

A Fife Council spokesperson said: “We were not aware of it being an issue but will ask community safety officers to monitor the site.”