Youth caught without seatbelt climbs 200ft up Edinburgh Castle Rock in desperate bid to escape from police in pursuit

A TEENAGER clambered 200ft up the face of Edinburgh Castle Rock before getting stuck as he fled police officers who caught him in a car without a seatbelt.

“Spider-Man” Thomas Young, 18, was trying to escape the pursuing officers who chased him down Castle Terrace and into Princes Street Gardens.

But instead of surrendering, the teenager started to climb up the rockface in the pitch dark on a wet and windy night.

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Young appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court yesterday to face sentencing on charges of endangering the lives of rescuers who had to abseil down from the Castle to save him.

Police negotiators had tried to talk Young down but he refused to comply, sparking the major rescue effort, with floodlights used to illuminate his position.

Young, who now has a ten-week-old son, had another deferred sentence pending at the time of the bizarre incident on May 20 last year. He had been ordered to be of good behaviour until that time.

When police officers spotted him not wearing a seatbelt while he was a passenger in a car, the court heard that Young panicked and ran off.

The teenager managed to scale 200ft of the rockface before he could go no further, but refused pleas by police to come down so firefighters were called to the scene.

Fiscal Depute Fiona Caldwell told the court that 14 rescue officers and police negotiators and been involved trying to get Young off the rock.

Floodlights had to be deployed and two members of the fire and rescue team were drafted in to abseil from the Castle walls down the rock to reach Young, the court heard.

Young, of Prestonfield Avenue, appeared at court earlier this month to admit that he “culpably and recklessly climbed the rock, refused to come down, caused members of the police and fire service to attend and deprived the public of their services for several hours and endangered his life and the lives of the rescue services”.

The case was continued until yesterday for the attention of Sheriff Alistair Noble, who had deferred sentence on Young on previous charges of breach of the peace and culpable and reckless conduct.

Young’s defence solicitor, Peter O’Neill, said that his client “had turned the corner” and was now the father of a baby son. He was in full employment and was thoroughly ashamed of his behaviour, the lawyer said.

“He is a young lad who has made mistakes”, added Mr O’Neill.

Sheriff Noble admonished Young for the Castle Rock escapade, but fined him £300 for the earlier offences.

When contacted at his home yesterday by the Evening News, Young said he did not want to comment on the case.