Belfast Telegraph

PSNI negotiator called after man climbs scaffolding to hurl wood at cars

Thousands of pounds in damage caused and one car a write-off - judge says behaviour 'bizarre'

By Alan Erwin

A man who climbed scaffolding and hurled down planks of wood caused thousands of pounds worth of damage to cars below, a court heard on Tuesday.

A police negotiator had to be called to the scene in south Belfast before 36-year-old Dennis Gregg McClean agreed to come back down.

Prosecutors said one of the vehicles was left a write-off by the incident on June 10 this year.

McClean, of Oakley Street in the city, pleaded guilty to three counts of criminal damage at Belfast Magistrates' Court.

Adjourning sentencing, the district judge described his behaviour as "bizarre".

Police went to the Upper Crescent area amid reports that McClean was on the second level of scaffolding, throwing planks of wood at vehicles on the street.

Crown lawyer Breige Gilmore said: "They asked the defendant to stop and come down, but he continued to throw more planks, causing significant damage to parked cars."

McClean refused to come down for around two hours, instead scaling up to a higher level of the scaffolding.

Following an intervention of a specially trained PSNI negotiator he descended and was arrested.

Damage caused to one car was estimated at £1,000, while the cost of repairing the other two was put at several hundred pounds each.

The court heard McClean has 189 previous convictions on his record.

Defence counsel Richard McConkey said: "He wasn't deliberately damaging vehicles, but by virtue of the recklessness it was almost inevitable that damage would happen."

Putting back sentencing for four weeks, District Judge Peter King ordered a full report on the defendant.

He told Mr McConkey: "This case is so bizarre and so different to your client's previous offending, I'm concerned that his stability has taken a turn for the worse.

"Someone climbs scaffolding and requires a police negotiator may need some assistance going forward to prevent that happening again."

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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