Brighton pier siege ends after five hours

Posted On 01 Aug 2010 at 11:57 pm

A fugitive fled Brighton police officers and hid under the Palace Pier for five hours in a tense stand-off.

The man, who was believed to have been wielding a hammer, ran off after police approached him in response to reports of a man threatening people near  the pier.

A lifeboat crew lit up the man’s hiding place throughout the siege despite fears that he might be armed.

The Brighton RNLI crew were called out just after midnight this morning (Sunday 1 August).

They quickly spotted the young man, dressed in dark jeans and a black hoodie-style top, hiding in the ironwork on the underside of the pier.

And they used two powerful searchlights to keep track of him.

He tried to sit it out as officers from Sussex Police and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency stood by.

The police tried to talk the man down for two hours before withdrawing to the shore end of the pier.

Although he was motionless for much of the siege, every now and then he would frantically dash backwards and forwards along the supports, looking for a new place to hide.

Matters were complicated at 3.30am when, in an unrelated incident, a fisherman reported seeing a man jump off the western arm of Brighton Marina into the sea.

Solent Coastguard and the police helicopter investigated what appears to have been a false alarm.

After five hours – at just after 5am – the man tried to make a run for it.

He was arrested and was still in police custody earlier this evening.

A spokesman for the Brighton lifeboat crew said: “It was clear after the first hour that this individual did not want to be detained.

“He was a determined young man who basically tried to ‘sit it out’ to avoid being caught.

“The Maritime and Coastguard Agency, Sussex Police and RNLI co-ordinated effectively throughout this incident to ensure it’s safe conclusion.

“It’s the longest incident we have been involved in this year so far.

“Clearly we’re glad it ended without injury and in the fugitive being taken into safe custody.”

  • The Brighton lifeboat station is holding an open day on Sunday 29 August, free, from 11am to 4pm.

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