Free-runners leave trail of destruction across Pontefract rooftops

Freerunners have caused �15k damage to buildings on Ropergate in Pontefract town centre. The town centre partnership have now set up an action group with the police to clamp down on the problem.'cllr David Jones, cllr Celia Loughran, Ann Story (Yorkshire Building Society), cllr Lorna Malkin, cllr Pat Garbutt and cllr Clice Tennett
Freerunners have caused �15k damage to buildings on Ropergate in Pontefract town centre. The town centre partnership have now set up an action group with the police to clamp down on the problem.'cllr David Jones, cllr Celia Loughran, Ann Story (Yorkshire Building Society), cllr Lorna Malkin, cllr Pat Garbutt and cllr Clice Tennett
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Free-runners from across the country have left a trail of damage across rooftops in Pontefract which has led to organised criminal gangs targeting the town.

Youths from as far away as Bournemouth have been coming to the town to jump between buildings on Ropergate and around the town centre.

Police said the town had been promoted on a specialist website due to the proximity of buildings and how easy they are to access.

But property owners say the activity - which involves people climbing buildings, running along roof tops and jumping gaps - has now led to gangs of organised criminals targetting the town.

On one occasion, a gang broke into Lloyd’s Bank through the roof and caused thousands of pounds of damage.

Stuart Wroe, who owns a number of buildings on Ropergate, said: “We have had this problem for the past three years but it is now becoming a major issue.

“Somebody will get killed or seriously injured. They are jumping up to nine-feet between buildings - it’s lethal.

“There is also the issue of the cost of the damage. Those doing it might not think they are causing a problem but when they run along it damages the slates.

“I have had to spend £15,000 on repairs in the past three years.

“These people are not welcome in our town and more than anything we are saying that for their own safety.”

Coun Denise Jeffery, chairwoman of Pontefract Town Centre Partnership, said: “There is a lot of concern among businesses in the town centre and we want to put an end to it.”