Youths on roofs

First published in News by

Youths inspired by TV and films are risking their lives by jumping from roof to roof of buildings in Sutton High Street.

Over the last five months Sutton Police have been inundated with calls from concerned residents who have spotted teenagers mounting buildings and jumping from roof to roof - and last month arrested three youths in connection with the activity.

"Over the last four to five months we have had quite a number of calls - about one or two a week - to the town centre police team about youths on roofs," said a police spokesman.

"We think they have picked it up from TV and movies," he added.

With its roots in French military training the activity - known as free running or parkour - became widely practiced in the suburbs of Paris and has since become a world-wide movement thanks to depictions in the television and in films.

It is often interpreted as a means to jump from building to building, but those who founded the movement say that most of the activity should be based on the ground.

Town centre police sergeant Andy Barnes was keen to stress the perils of the activity.

"It is extremely dangerous for youths to be on roofs. To actually jump between roofs they are risking their limbs very possibly their lives," he said.

"If we can catch them we will stop them and if they commit an offence we will deal with it."

The difficulty with dealing with the problem is that to be on the roof is not a criminal offence but causing damage to a buildings is.

In March three 14- and 15-year-olds were arrested for causing criminal damage to buildings in the High Street. Two were issued with a final warning and one is due to be charged.

Anyone with information on the roof jumpers should call the town centre police team on 020 8721 2897. If you see someone standing on a roof call 999.

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