Man’s bridge jump threat cost emergency services thousands of pounds

A MAN who threatened to jump off a bridge unless a police Chief Constable came to talk to him has appeared in court.

Simon Smith spent five hours perched on the Victoria Bridge in Thornaby – costing the emergency services thousands of pounds.

The 48-year-old appeared at Teesside Crown Court to be sentenced after admitting causing a public nuisance.

Emma Atkinson, prosecuting, said Smith was alleging the police hadn’t properly investigated a complaint he had made and refused to budge until the top cop came to speak to him or he would jump.

Police, ambulance and fire crews attended the scene in the early hours of December 12 last year in a bid to prevent Smith jumping in the river.

Miss Atkinson said the bridge was closed for several hours while specialist negotiators spoke to Smith.

She said at one point Smith ‘seemed to fall asleep on the ledge’ before he was arrested after being talked down to safety.

Smith, of Crummackdale, Ingleby Barwick, was given a 12 month community order following the defendant’s ‘cry for help’ triggered by Covid restrictions.

Recorder Peter Makepeace said: “As a result of your actions the bridge was closed for a number of hours, 16 police officers were deployed to close the roads in the area, at not inconsiderable inconvenience to local residents no doubt.

“Specialist negotiators had to be drafted in and the river had to be secured and a river boat was placed on standby.”

He added: “All that work was done to save your life.”

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The Northern Echo | Teesside