London, Jun 18: Teenagers are using satellite images on the internet to find houses with swimming pools - and then turning up uninvited for an impromptu dip. The craze, known as 'dipping', involves using the Google Earth programme, which provides high-quality photos of Britain and other countries, reports the Telegraph. Once a target is chosen, the youngsters use social networking sites such as Facebook and Bebo to arrange to meet.
According to the police, residents have woken up to find youngsters 'dipping' in their back gardens, or have come home from work to a swimming pool full of beer cans. The rules of 'dipping' often include wearing fancy dress and participants are urged to 'bring a bike' to escape if discovered. One group has already boasted on the Internet that it held an event earlier this week. Sixteen people are said to have gatecrashed two pools near Bournemouth, Dorset. The group responsible for organising the 'dipping' session listed a specific meeting place, a midnight to 3am duration and mobile telephone numbers for the organisers. Although there were only 16 confirmed participants at the 'event', invitations were sent to more than 500 users on Facebook.
Comments left by admirers of the group suggested that the craze could be spreading. One message reads: "You crazy lot and your crazy antiks (sic). Don't think I can make it but maybe I can do it on my own in London." A police spokesman said: "We are advising owners of swimming pools to be on their guard and extra vigilant. We would also warn prospective swimmers that using someone else's pool is trespassing and therefore illegal."
Social networking sites such as MySpace have previously caused trouble for families after private parties advertised online have been gatecrashed by hordes of unruly teenagers.