UK & World News

  • 5 April 2014, 4:53

Skyscraper Climbers 'Putting Others At Risk'

A series of viral videos of climbers illegally scaling skyscrapers and tall structures has led to calls for tighter security in cities like New York and London.

Videos of climbers risking their lives by illegally trespassing are being viewed by millions which has led to others copying stunts and posting their exploits on internet forums.

The latest video to go viral is of James Kingston, from Southampton, climbing Moscow Bridge in Ukraine without any safety equipment.

Once at the top, the freerunner performs a backflip hundreds of feet above a busy road.

The footage was shot for a documentary which aired in the UK earlier this year but was posted online last week.

This video follows other high-profile climbs. In January, a group scaled London's 'Walkie-Talkie' building, and weeks later a video of two men reaching the tip of the new Shanghai Tower was posted online.

In New York, Senator Charles Schumer this week called for tighter security after a 16-year-old reached the tip of the new World Trade Center.

A few days later, another video was posted by an artist who had recorded himself climbing the city's Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge.

It is not just high-profile buildings that are being climbed. Internet forums where climbers post their conquests show pictures and video of climbs in Blackpool, Manchester, Bristol, Birmingham and Leicester in March alone.

For police, stopping climbers is a difficult task. In most cases, it is only treated as a civil offence and many climbers hide their identities.

A spokesman for City of London Corporation, an area thought to be a prime target because of its concentration of tall buildings said: "It's clear that these people are doing this for the thrill and to show off, but it's also clear they are floating security at the sites they are breaking into.

"They are putting themselves at huge risk just to take 'selfies' and they are also putting others in danger too. It's irresponsible and illegal and we do not condone it."

Mr Kingston told Sky News he is worried someone could get killed, but said: "The only thing I can say is that people need to be doing these for the right reasons and not at all for the attention or the reaction you get.

"They need to do it because they love it and want to do it for themselves. As soon as they start showing off, that's when someone could get hurt."

Climbing without ropes is nothing new and is called solo climbing or bouldering, but it is not routinely done on buildings.

The British Mountaineering and Climbing Council refused to comment on this activity, which is being described as "buildering" or "urban solo climbing".

Tim Miller, from Southampton Climbing Centre, said of the practice: "I think that could be a negative thing if it inspires young people to do that.

"I would say get involved in a local climbing community where there's some safety measures in place and it's more regulated."

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