STUDENTS are being warned not to use a cemetery as a shortcut on nights out after a man impaled his leg on a metal fence in a ‘near-death incident’.

Civic chiefs launched an investigation after the Sparsholt College student impaled his leg on the fence surrounding West Hill Cemetery in St James’ Lane, Winchester, earlier this month.

Paramedics and firefighters rushed to the scene in the early hours of November 1, where they found the 22-year-old suspended around 6ft in the air.

A friend of the student told the Chronicle that they had been using the cemetery as a shortcut back to the Winchester University campus, which shares some facilities with the college, after a night out when he fell on the metal fence. They then flagged down a group who were walking past to call ambulance.

In what paramedics described as a “potentially life-threatening” incident, the student had to be cut free by firefighters and was rushed to Southampton General Hospital, where he spent a number of days.

A spokesman for South Central Ambulance Service said: “We were called at 1.16am [on November 1] with the caller reporting that a 22-year-old male who had been trying to climb into the cemetery over some metal fencing had been impaled in his upper left leg on the fence.

“We informed the fire service and also sent our full hazardous area response team as he was reported as being around 6ft up in the air.

“Although he was stable throughout, the injury he had sustained was potentially life-threatening.”

Winchester City Council, which manages the cemetery, confirmed it has launched an investigation into the incident.

A spokeswoman said: “The city council is investigating the incident, but in the meantime would remind the public of the dangers of attempting to enter the cemetery after it has closed.”

A Winchester University spokeswoman added: “We understand that Sparsholt College is offering him support and wish him a full and speedy recovery.

“Local residents, university staff and students all use the footpath through West Hill Cemetery on a daily basis during the hours the gates are open. Obviously, When the cemetery gates are closed, the only available route is via St James’ Lane and Sparkford Road. We would always discourage anyone from climbing over the gates or perimeter railings.”

Sparsholt College has been approached for comment.