Police finally announce arrest more than 36 hours after paraglider buzzes Donald Trump at Turnberry

Simon Johnson
A Greenpeace protester flying a microlight passes over Donald Trump's resort in Turnberry, South Ayrshire, with a banner reading

Scottish police have finally announced an arrest more than 36 hours after a paraglider was allowed to fly shockingly close to Donald Trump as the US President admired the view from his Turnberry golf resort.

Police Scotland said a 55-year-old man had been arrested on Sunday morning in connection with the stunt organised by Greenpeace, which saw the paraglider hover within surprising proximity of Mr Trump on Friday evening.

As he floated by, the activist held a banner that read "Trump, well below par #Resist." He circled three times before flying away and managed to elude security forces after landing.

In a further humiliation for the police and the President's security detail, Greenpeace posted a video of the protest on social media that was shot from the Turnberry hotel, close to the President.

It has been reported that a Greenpeace activist booked a room at the South Ayrshire hotel incognito and only asked to leave the following day when the Secret Service discovered who they were.

U.S. President Donald Trump stands on the course of his golf resort, in Turnberry Credit: Reuters

Questions are being asked by US officials connected with the UK trip about how the paraglider was allowed to get so close to the President, and the activist at the hotel allowed to breach the tight security at Turnberry so easily.

One said the breach would have been dealt with far differently in the US and raised the possibility that the paraglider would have been shot.

Armed police snipers were staged around the Turnberry resort and Assistant Chief Constable Mark Williams said the protester had put themselves in "grave danger", despite Greenpeace's insistence that it had informed police shortly in advance of the stunt.

The arrest was announced as Mr Trump played a round of golf on Sunday morning on Turnberry's Ailsa course. He also played the course with his son, Eric, the previous day.

The President and his wife, Melania, were scheduled to depart for Prestwick Airport in the afternoon and board Air Force one for a flight to Helsinki, where he is to hold a summit with Vladimir Putin on Monday.

Video footage of Friday's stunt posted by Greenpeace from the front of Turnberry showed Mr Trump being quickly ushered inside as the paraglider flew overhead, surrounded by Secret Service agents.

Scottish police patrolling the resort looked on and snipers on the roof of the hotel held their fire as the paraglider circled.

When he passed Turnberry for a third time, a police vehicle began to pursue him but he escaped, flying back in the direction from which he came.

Mr Williams said it was a criminal offence to fly within the airspace restriction zone and officers were trying to trace the culprit.

In a statement issued at 11.10am on Sunday, Police Scotland said they "can confirm that a 55-year-old man has been arrested in connection with an incident when a powered parachute was flown in the vicinity of the Turnberry Hotel around 9.45 pm on Friday, 13 July 2018."

The US Secret Service has previously released a statement saying it "is working with our foreign law enforcement partners as they investigate the circumstances surrounding an aircraft (paraglider) that flew into unauthorized airspace in Scotland."