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Rooftop drama EXCLUSIVE

PUBLISHED: 09:50 20 March 2008 | UPDATED: 14:33 25 August 2010

Bexley
18-03-08
Protestor Paul Robinson on the roof of Sidcup Police Station

Bexley 18-03-08 Protestor Paul Robinson on the roof of Sidcup Police Station

POLICEMEN watched in horror as a man balanced on the roof of their station and nearly plunged to the street below on Tuesday night.

By MICHAEL ADKINS & MARTIN SAWDEN

POLICEMEN watched in horror as a man balanced on the roof of their station and nearly plunged to the street below on Tuesday night.

Passers-by spotted the man, Paul Robinson, 32, from Sidcup, shouting from the roof of the building in the town's Main Road, at about 8.15pm.

Cops were initially unaware of the drama unfolding on their building as pedestrians stopped to listen before alerting officers.

The Bexley Times was one of the first on the scene as the man balanced awkwardly across the divide between the police station and adjoining Chinese restaurant.

He shouted to passers-by: "My name is Paul Robinson, I want a job and because of the police I can not get a job."

Hours later, with temperatures plummeting, he clambered higher on to the police station's chimney.

A friend was desperately talking to the protester on a mobile phone telling him to sit down as Mr Robinson, growing tired, began to loose his footing.

The friend, who wanted to remain anonymous, then handed a Bexley Times reporter his phone.

Mr Robinson told the reporter: "What is the point in carrying on? I'm so stressed. All I want to do is get a nine to five job like a normal person. But because I've got a criminal record it's impossible, I'm being pushed into a hole. The police don't leave me alone.

"I'm not an innocent person but it doesn't matter what I did in the past."

His friend said: "This is a b****y dangerous way to make his point. I wish he would just sit down, I'm scared he is going to slip."

Hours earlier, up to 100 people gathered below as customers at Pizza Express and The Portrait pub came outside to look.

The Times' Michael Adkins, 29, was first on the scene. He said: "I noticed a bag on the floor and thought nothing of it until this face appeared. The man started asking for a job and telling me to let the police know he was there."

Officers scurried from the building about 10 minutes after the protest began. It is believed he climbed on to the roof by clambering up a drainpipe. He dropped a red bag, containing food and drink supplies, as he struggled to climb.

Several police officers stood at the foot of the building trying to calm the agitated man. Another officer climbed on to the balcony halfway up the building to coax him down to no avail.

One officer shouted: "You've done this before, haven't you Paul? What's wrong? We will get you down safely."

Despite their efforts he climbed higher on to the triangular roof, arms outstretched and demanded a chance to work.

As the amount of onlookers increased he argued with one pedestrian who told him to jump and swore at another who tried to retrieve his bag.

Within half-an-hour police had closed the road at the traffic light junction with Station Road and Main Road and the other end past the florists. Police called firefighters to be on standby and an ambulance was also positioned in case he fell or attempted suicide.

Jason Parker, 23, who was drinking in the Portrait said: "We saw him about 10 minutes before everyone realised what was going on. He was struggling to climb up the wall and could not hold on to his bag. We thought he was just someone messing around and did not realise what he was about to do."

At 11.30pm negotiators finally talked the protester down and he was taken to hospital. A spokeswoman for Bexley police said a man who climbed Sidcup police station was arrested for criminal damage and released without charge.

ktneditorial@archant.co.uk

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