Roof-hopping youths 'risking their lives' as free-running craze takes off in Beverley
YOUTHS are risking their lives by "free running" across rooftops in Beverley town centre, police have warned.
It follows similar concerns raised in Cottingham, where businesses have taken action to stop youths roof hopping across the tops of shops and offices.
In Beverley, roof-hopping youths have also been hurling stones at windows and pelting mud at passers-by from the rooftops, sparking the threat of prosecution.
Inspector Rob Cocker, in charge of neighbourhood policing in Beverley, said: "Youths are getting on to rooftops and running around.
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"They have also been throwing things at people.
"They are quite a height from the ground and it's a bit slimy up there so if they are messing about and end up falling , it could be fatal."
Insp Cocker warned any youths caught on the rooftops could face prosecution, punishable by a maximum three months in prison.
He said: "By trespassing as a bit of a prank, they may find themselves on the wrong side of the law.
"They may be committing an offence by being on the rooftops.
"If it becomes a persistent problem, we will consider taking action to send a strong message out there. It has escalated with the damage.
"Breaking windows is an offence, that is criminal damage."
Insp Cocker said businesses in the town centre are being advised to review the security of their buildings.
He said: "The message to traders is to review security and be satisfied the premises are safe and they do not present a risk to neighbouring premises and they do not leave themselves liable for any injuries.
"They are the victims of people misbehaving but such is the current claims culture, they really do need to be satisfied that their property is safe."
Some traders are now using anti-vandal paint to deter youths from scaling their buildings.
Similar action has already been taken in Cottingham, where youths were free running over buildings in a craze also known as parkour.
Inspector Andy Woodhead, senior neighbourhood policing officer for Cottingham, said: "A couple of months ago, we had the craze of roof hopping, or free running, in Cottingham.
"We reminded businesses about their liability for their buildings and a lot of them made it harder for youths to get onto the roofs by putting up anti-climbing frames and using anti-vandal paint.
"We did some patrols in the area and we involved outreach youth workers to engage with the kids.
"We also got them into Hull to a proper venue where they could do that sort of stuff in a safer environment."
Parkour, or free running, has its origins in France.
Interest was boosted after parkour professionals were used to perform stunts in films such as the James Bond movie Casino Royale and the Bourne trilogy.