WINSLOW — The clear, deep water of the popular but officially off-limits Blue Hole in the Pinelands of Gloucester and Camden Counties for years has lured swimmers and ATV riders from miles around. It also provides a place to drink alcohol and picnic.

But officials say the water, which has 50-foot drops and fast moving currents, is a dangerous place.

Following reports of a near-drowning and 9- and 11-year-old children getting hit by a vehicle, Winslow police and the state Division of Fish and Wildlife teamed up for a weekend sting and issued 70 citations for illegal activities at the Blue Hole on Piney Hollow Road, as well as at Penbryn Lake on Penbryn Road, Oak Pond in a wooded section off New Brooklyn Road, and Hanson Sand and Gravel on Williamstown Road.

Winslow police said the enforcement primarily targeted trespassing on the properties and illegal activities such as swimming in the quarries, riding ATVs and consuming alcoholic beverages and other violations that are not allowed at the Winslow Fish and Wildlife Management Area.

Winslow police said 30 citations were issued for illegal swimming, 23 for trespassing, 10 for the consumption of alcohol in a public place, three warrant arrests, two citations for being in a park after dark, two for fishing without a license, two motor vehicle violation and four other Fish and Game violations.

During the operation that started Friday night and ran until Sunday evening, officers came across a woman watching several children ranging in age from 2 to 16 swimming in the quarry without life preservers and people drinking alcohol. When asked how they knew about Blue Hole the response was via social media.

"We do not want to discourage people from visiting these areas, but those who do visit, to visit safely and follow the rules. Illegal activities in these areas will not be tolerated and enforcement action will be taken. No camping, picnicking, drinking alcohol, riding ATVs or swimming is allowed in these areas. These areas are closed completely between the hours of 9 p.m. and 5 a.m.," Winslow police said in a statement.

Sign up for the WPG Talk Radio 104.1 Newsletter

Get South Jersey news and information e-mailed to you every week.