Man arrested after five-hour lamppost drama that stopped Leeds city centre traffic

PIC: Scott Merrylees
PIC: Scott Merrylees

Road closures in Leeds city centre have been lifted after a man who climbed a lamppost and refused to move was eventually talked down and arrested.

The young man scaled the post outside The Queens hotel and main railway station in Leeds at 9.10am this morning.

Pic: Jamie Hilsden @JMEHilsden

Pic: Jamie Hilsden @JMEHilsden

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

Police, paramedics and fire crews were called to the scene and the loop road was completely closed, causing gridlock across parts of the city centre and as far back as the M621 motorway.

Traffic in Leeds has been heavier than usual today because of a strike by FirstBus drivers.

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

A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “Officers were called to Bishopgate Street at 9.10am this morning after the man climbed scaffolding to reach the lamppost and refused to come down.

“A cordon was put in place and a trained police negotiator maintained contact with the man throughout the incident. At about 2pm today he came down safely.”

The 25-year-old has been detained under the Mental Health Act and taken for an assessment. He has also been arrested for wasting police time.

Inspector Richard Clarke 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.”

At the height of the stand-off, Bishopgate Street was closed and traffic was queuing traffic northbound between the Neville Street junction and the Wellington Street junction as police tried to reason with the man.