Police warn of 'dangerous consequences' in surge of youths climbing roofs in West Yorkshire

Police have issued a warning to youngsters and parents after a surge in reports of youths climbing onto building roofs.

13-year-old Mackenzie broke his face falling through a building roof
13-year-old Mackenzie broke his face falling through a building roof

Police said they 'cannot stress enough how dangerous' the practice is, after a teenager was killed in Leeds last year and a 13-year-old fell through a roof and broke his face just last week.

A spokesman for West Yorkshire Police said: "Over the last few days, North West Officers and officers from other teams have gone to several calls regarding youths on roofs.

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"We understand that kids want to explore and climb but we cannot stress enough how dangerous this is as the incidents in Holmfirth, Kirkstall & Garforth last year and Ferrybridge this year show.

"Please speak to your children of the potential dangers and consequences of climbing buildings."

'Feared the worst'

The mother of a 13-year-old boy who broke his face in a 40ft fall has warned other parents of the dangers of an ‘exploring craze’ amongst youngsters.

Charlotte Frain 'feared the worst' when she received the call, rushing to the scene of the accident “not knowing whether I was going to find my son dead or alive”.

Her son Mackenzie Cooper is now recovering in hospital in Leeds having fallen through the roof of a derelict structure behind a Sainsbury’s petrol station in Dewsbury.

“It’s the sort of phone call no parent should ever, ever have to receive. I’ve never felt anything like that in my entire life. The feeling is beyond words, just horrible, like someone has punched you in the stomach," she said.

“I arrived there just not knowing what to expect. I didn’t know what state he was going to be in, I didn’t even know whether he was even alive.”

Mackenzie suffered a broken jaw in two places, a broken bone in his face, a badly broken wrist, a fracture above his knee and a punctured right lung.

Based at Leeds General Infirmary, the Whitcliffe Mount student has had a metal plate put into his cheek and underwent a second operation on his wrist on Saturday. He awaits further treatment.

Ms Frain, who has three other children, said: “It sounds silly but he’s got off so lightly. He’s a very, very lucky boy. He could have so easily died or had some sort of spinal injury. I could so easily be planning my son’s funeral this week.

“He’s in huge pain, he’s eating through a straw at the moment and it’s going to take a long time for him to recover.

“He loves his rugby. He plays for Cleckheaton RUFC and had planned to train through the Summer. That’s obviously not going to happen and in terms of him playing again the doctors are just saying that we’ll take it as it comes.”

Since Ms Frain posted photos of her son’s facial injuries on Facebook as a way of warning other parents, she has received reports of a craze of local youngsters exploring derelict buildings and climbing scaffolding.

"It’s just so dangerous. These buildings are just not safe and there are warning signs there for a reason. Mackenzie had been told not to do this sort of thing but he ignored those warnings.

“It’s not nice having these photos of Facebook but they are graphic and hopefully they will stop kids from messing about and show people the dangers of doing this sort of thing.

“Mackenzie is OK with it. In my mind, if it stops one person doing this sort of thing then it’s worth it. No parent should have to get that call.”