Wales

Pokemon Go: Warning as youths seen on dual carriageway

Young people playing Pokemon Go with one dressed in a Pikachu hoodie Image copyright EPA

Police have issued a safety warning after youths were spotted playing the virtual reality game Pokemon Go on a busy dual carriageway.

North Wales Police said two individuals were reported to have been on the A55 near Holyhead on Anglesey.

The 70mph road is the main route for freight traffic and motorists heading to and from the ferry port to Ireland.

Released in the UK last week Pokemon Go is the most successful game launched on mobile platforms across the world.

The game urges players to catch virtual monsters found on real maps using GPS functions on smart phones.

"With schools closing for the summer holidays there will be many children taking to the streets to play the game," said Supt Jane Banham, head of North Wales Police's community safety.

"However, we are asking players to exercise common sense whilst playing to make sure they are aware of their surroundings."

Image copyright EPA

The force is the second in Wales to issue warnings on Monday, alongside Gwent Police.

Gwent officers have urged players "not to lose sight of the real world and the laws in place" as they search for elusive Pokemon.

The two forces are re-enforcing their message with guidelines to help keep players safe.

  • Do not make yourself vulnerable. Do not be tempted to take your phone out in busy or unlit areas where you could be a target for thieves
  • Concentrate on dangers around you and be careful when crossing the road - do not just focus on your phone
  • Do not go to isolated areas alone
  • Never play the game while driving
  • Do not trespass on private property
  • Parents: Ensure you know where your child is at all times

"This game has really captured the imagination of people all over the country, myself included. We don't want to discourage people having fun, however, we do want to make sure that they're doing so safely and legally," added Chf Insp Nick McLain, from Gwent Police.

"Please take care when playing the game and make sure that you are still concentrating on the environment around you, being mindful of any potential dangers it could pose."

NSPCC Wales said it was "deeply troubling" that many warning signals had been "ignored" by the app's owners.

A spokesman added: "It would have been better if they had taken time to reflect on these and put their young users first.

"Pokemon Go is setting a precedent as the most successful reality game app on the market. It's very disappointing that child safety isn't at its heart."

The makers of the game - Niantic and The Pokemon Company - have previously said they take player safety seriously.

They said in a statement: "We encourage all people to be aware of their surroundings and to play with friends or family, especially when you're exploring unfamiliar places. Please remember to be safe and alert at all times, don't drive and play, abide by local laws, and respect the locations you visit and people you meet during your exploration."

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