Members of the public in South Essex and North Kent have been warned to keep clear of the wreck of the explosive SS Montgomery after it was revealed that a number of Pokemon Go characters have been placed at the site of the sunken vessel.

Although the Pokemon Go smartphone app isn’t currently available in the UK officially, a number of enthusiasts have already managed to download it through the US version of the Apple App Store – the ‘game’ uses augmented reality technology to ‘place’ collectible characters at various real-world sites. Public safety officials have slammed the ‘irresponsible’ decision by Nintendo to leave Pikachu and a number of other sought-after characters in such a dangerous location.

Sgt Harry Balisto of the Thames Marine Division spoke EXCLUSIVELY to Southend News Network this morning. He said: ‘In the last 48 hours, lifeboat crews and marine police vessels have attended 87 callouts where people have either walked to the wreck at low-tide or taken their own boat at high-tide.’

‘On every occasion, the visitors have told our officers that they have been trying to catch Pokemon Go characters before their friends have been able to get hold of them. However, these people don’t realise that while doing so they could trigger an explosion that would effectively destroy a 50-mile radius of Essex and Kent.’

‘As far as I am concerned, Nintendo have an awful lot to answer for. On Tuesday morning, a young woman walked off the end of the pier after her iPhone told her that Meowth was waiting seductively around 110m due south of the Cultural Centre at the Pier Head. Is it really worth almost killing yourself over a bunch of sodding pixels?’

In another development, Southend Borough Council officials have been forced to apologise after their leisure and tourism department started a false rumour that a number of Pokemon Go characters were hidden at council-owned facilities in the town.

SBC Tourism and Emerging Tech Manager Brian Pank said: ‘One of our junior employees used our official Facebook and Twitter accounts to fraudulently tell the public that Pokemon Go characters were ready to be found inside the Southend Central Museum – a building that nobody has actually visited since October 2011. I would like to apologise personally to the 5,652 visitors who turned up on Tuesday afternoon, only to be disappointed.’

‘On the plus side, our Saxon King exhibit received a lot of interest from people trying to look at it through a smartphone screen. I expect that the Prittlewell Prince would have been bemused at the thought of a Jigglypuff – whatever that is.’

Southend News Network’s technology correspondent Mario Sonic said: ‘The easiest way to explain Pokemon Go is that it is like Geocaching without the risk of wandering onto a renowned local dogging site in the woods.’