A DIVER died in the North Sea after a series of alleged safety lapses, an inquest heard.
John Hawkins, a prison officer from Thongsbridge, died during a diving trip at St Abbs, Berwickshire, Scotland, in April 2001.
And the hearing was told that he was an inexperienced diver who needed more help.
Mr Hawkins, 48, had lived in Birchencliffe but was renovating an old house in Stoney Bank Road, Thongsbridge. He worked at Wakefield Prison.
He joined members of the Sea Dog Diving Club, based at Fartown, on a trip to Scotland.
The inquest in Wakefield was told he got into difficulties when surfacing from a dive of 22 metres.
He was pulled from the water but could not be resuscitated. A post-mortem revealed he had died from inhaling vomit.
Master diver Ian Neilson investigated the accident for the Scottish Procurator Fiscal. He told the inquest St Abbs was not a suitable spot for inexperienced divers.
He said the Sea Dog Diving Club had not given Mr Hawkins adequate supervision and should have carried out a number of safety checks prior to allowing Mr Hawkins to make his dive.
He said novice divers should not be taken as deep as 22 metres. His borrowed dry suit may have also allowed in cold water which could have caused buoyancy problems and hypothermia.
The court was told Mr Hawkins had taken a Professional Association of Diving Instructors course only a month earlier.
Mr Barry Whiteley, of the Sea Dog Club, said the PADI course entitled Mr Hawkins to dive in open water.
He said St Abbs was a safe place and said Mr Hawkins appeared confident.
Coroner Mr David Hinchliff, who recorded a misadventure verdict, said he was satisfied Mr Hawkins' experience was limited.
"This was a serious expedition and he should have received correct and expert diving tuition in all the circumstances," he said.