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Free-runners on Belfast hospital rooftop blasted by health trust

By Jonathan Bell

A Northern Ireland health trust has blasted young people for putting their own lives and the wellbeing of its patients at risk by 'free-running' on the rooftops of a hospital.

Police have received reports of youths, once again, climbing the roof of the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children above a ward which cares for terminally ill children and their parents.

"Wise up," said police.

"Not only is this extremely dangerous and ridiculously stupid, it also shows a blatant disregard for staff and patients within the hospital."

"The trust are spending money they don't have to try and stop people being able to gain access to the roof; money that could be better spent elsewhere. Your images are on CCTV and we will be following this up - you can explain your actions to a Judge."

The Belfast Trust has in the past released the CCTV images of the youths on the rooftops. Children thought to be as young as nine were involved in a similar incident in April. Security staff feared it was only a matter of time before someone was seriously injured as it was taking place at a time when the roofs were icy.

The Belfast Trust said the incidents were distressing patients.

A spokeswoman said: "So called ‘free running‘ has taken place on the rooftops of some of the buildings on the Royal campus in recent times, and we continue to work closely with the PSNI and community representatives to deal with it.

"Our primary concern is the comfort and wellbeing of our patients. This sort of activity adds to their distress, as well as being very unsettling for the staff who care for them.

"This is also very dangerous for those involved, and we would appeal to them to think about the impact their activities have on our patients."

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