Crane climber taken into police custody following climate protest

By Megan Baynes, PA
·2-min read

A teenage climate protester who camped at the top of a crane has ended his protest and been arrested.

Alex Sidney, 17, scaled the structure in Duke Street, Norwich, early on Saturday morning and spent two nights at the top before descending at midday on Monday.

Extinction Rebellion Norwich confirmed he had been taken into police custody.

Speaking before he climbed down, the teenager told the PA news agency: “Fire officers want to speak to me first, and then I will climb down on my own.”

Extinction Rebellion protests
The set-up Alex Sidney made for himself at the top of a crane in Norwich as part of a climate inaction protest (Extinction Rebellion Norwich/PA)

Alex said he was protesting in the hope that politicians would get behind the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill, and that local plans for the Wensum Link Road would be reviewed.

Known locally as the Wensum Link Road, the Norwich Western Link, a new dual carriageway in Norfolk is “destroying ancient trees, barbastelle bats, and polluting our protected chalk streams”, he said.

He previously told PA he was “a bit cold but still in good health”, despite running out of gas for his stove.

Extinction Rebellion Norwich said it last spoke to him just before he came down, but have been unable to speak with him since.

A spokesman said: “Before he came down he was pleased about the reach his action has got across the media, and really hoping politicians might take some action off the back of it.

“He was tired and hungry, but still enthusiastic as always!”

Extinction Rebellion protests
Alex Sidney spent two nights at the top of the crane (Extinction Rebellion Norwich/PA)

He spent two nights camped on the gantry outside the crane’s cab, around 115ft (33m) off the ground.

Norfolk Constabulary said: “A 17-year-old protester who climbed to the top of a crane in Norwich has been arrested.

“The boy had been at the top of the crane for three days after climbing it on Saturday morning (November 7 2020) around 6.40am.

“Emergency services attended and have been at the scene since.

“The incident was safely resolved at about 12.30pm today (November 9 2020).

“The boy has been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage, aggravated trespass, breaching Covid-19 regulations and a public order offence.

“He’s been taken into custody at Wymondham Police Investigation Centre where he will be questioned.”