Saturday 14 December 2019

Man arrested following Leeds city centre lamppost drama

A man stands on a lamppost in City Square in Leeds, bringing traffic to a standstill
A man stands on a lamppost in City Square in Leeds, bringing traffic to a standstill

A man who brought city centre traffic to a standstill after climbing a lamppost and refusing to come down for nearly five hours has been arrested.

The 25-year-old man scaled scaffolding to reach the post outside The Queens hotel and main railway station in Leeds at 9.10am on Monday morning, police said.

He stood on a light fitting in City Square about 20ft (6m) above the busy loop road - the three-lane road which carries all traffic around the city centre.

A specialist police negotiator was called in and the man came down from the post safely at around 2pm before being detained under the Mental Health Act and arrested for wasting police time.

During the incident, police, paramedics and fire crews were called to the scene and the loop road was completely closed, causing tailbacks between the city centre and the M621 motorway.

Crowds of people stood watching the man, who occasionally shouted to the people below.

Inspector Richard Clarke, of West Yorkshire Police, said: "Our primary considerations during this incident were the safety of this man, the public in the area and the officers dealing with him.

"We are pleased we were able to bring the situation to a successful conclusion without any issues.

"Clearly this incident has caused significant disruption to traffic in the city centre, but we hope the public will understand the need for the road to be closed while we worked to resolve the situation safely."

Meanwhile, in Leicestershire, the southbound M1 has been reopened after a man climbed on a gantry over the motorway and refused to come down for 28 hours.

Leicestershire Police said the man had been arrested on suspicion of causing a public nuisance and was taken to a police station to be interviewed.

The road had been closed between junctions 23a and 22 in the parish of Copt Oak after the man scaled the information board gantry on Sunday lunchtime.

Assistant Chief Constable Phil Kay said: "I am relieved that this protracted incident has now come to a safe conclusion, but I do not underestimate the incredible gridlock and massive inconvenience that this incident has caused to motorists throughout the UK.

"This man is now in custody and therefore I am not able to say more at this stage about the circumstances that led him to climb the stanchion and remain there for so long.

"I would, however, like to express my sincere sympathies to the many tens of thousands of people who have been seriously inconvenienced as a result of this incident.

"Our priority from the outset has been the safety of this man, of my officers, and of the motoring public. I am glad that this man has now, after 28 hours, finally agreed to come down."

PA Media

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