White House intruder: Secret Service arrest man after he tries to jump fence

Caroline Mortimer
The man is subdued by the Secret Service after leaping the barrier at the White House: AP

The US Secret Service has arrested a man after he tried to jump the fence at the White House while Donald Trump is believed to be inside.

The Secret Service tweeted at about 8am (1pm UK time) on Sunday that someone tried to jump a row of metal bike racks that are being used to create a second row of fencing outside the executive mansion.

Those racks were installed in response to a series of fence-jumping incidents in recent years, including a man who made it into the White House in 2014.

Pedestrians were briefly barred from walking in front of the White House during Sunday's incident.

Mr Trump was inside at the time of the incident but was unharmed.

The Secret Service announced it would be reducing public access to grounds of the White House after an intruder managed to walk around undetected for 17 minutes and rattled the door handle of the South Portico – known as the President's backdoor.

Jonathan T Tran had been seen lurking around outside in the hours before and when he was arrested, the Secret Service found he had been carrying mace and a letter for the President.

Despite activating alarms, the 26-year-old Californian was able to avoid officers at one point by hiding behind a pillar of the East Wing entrance.

Although Tran was able to get close to the building he did not gain entry and was arrested at the scene.

House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz said the incident was "a complete and utter total failure" of the complex, high-tech security system.

He said staff were frustrated that they had not been able to locate him despite him setting off multiple security sensors.

“That's why we spend billions of dollars on personnel and dogs and technologies and fences and undercover people and video surveillance,” Mr Chaffetz said.

“And yet the person is able to get up close to the White House and spend 17 minutes before he's apprehended. That's unbelievable.”

Additional reporting by PA