Paraglider says claims he is abusive to public on seafront are lies
Police have appealed for witnesses after claims of criminal damage and anti-social behaviour.
A paraglider allegedly intimidating and being abusive to people over the Sussex seafront has branded such complaints “lies”.
A man identifying himself as the paraglider denied flying low to annoy people in the area of Bexhill-on-Sea.
Police this week appealed for witnesses to support the investigation into reports the man had caused criminal damage, was hostile towards members of the public and had been “generally behaving in an anti-social manner”.
But the man, who said he has been paragliding for 25 years, dismissed the complaints.
“I’m a free-flying spirit and I live to fly and fly to live,” he told LBC radio host James O’Brien, who addressed the caller as Paul.
Asked if he was intimidating people on the seafront, he laughed and said: “No. I’m just there to fly.
“I fly low because I’m a paraglider pilot flying a hill which is exempt from the 500ft rule. Hill-soaring is hill-soaring.”
The man uses Galley Hill, Bexhill-on-Sea, as a launch site.
Sussex Police’s probe is being carried out in conjunction with the Civil Aviation Authority.
Sounds like this guy's the limit. Do you have any info about a para-glider who behaves aggressively towards anyone else using Galley Hill, #Bexhill, when he's around? Please let us know. https://t.co/7fhEA6kxmZ— Sussex Police (@sussex_police) August 29, 2018
Sergeant Simon Barden of Sussex Police said: “We’d like to hear from anyone who has seen or experienced aggressive or disturbing approaches from this man.”
A spokesman for Rother District Council said it has had “numerous interactions with him over recent years”.
He went on: “Most recently we received a complaint in July from a member of the public who felt endangered when he was taking off from Galley Hill.
“Our staff have also witnessed him flying low along the seafront in Bexhill. Coastal staff have been advised not to approach him but to collect evidence and report any incidents to the police.
“There is a bylaw restricting taking off and landing along the area of the seashore and we’re currently collecting evidence of any contraventions and we will liaise with the police to support their investigation.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact Sussex Police online or phone 101 and quote Operation Surfer.