Barefoot and smiling, ‘daft’ Dylan Dunne caused chaos as he scaled the Tyne Bridge to get a better view of the river.
On the day that Geordies around the world celebrated their pride in the iconic structure on its 90th birthday, the 20-year-old was in court for using the famous bridge for his crazed stunt.
Dunne, from Bristol, sparked an emergency response when he was spotted climbing up the steel structure in June.
Now, after pleading guilty to causing a public nuisance the keen amateur photographer has been branded ‘young and daft’ by magistrates, and ‘idiotic’ by police.
Paddy Watters, chair of the bench at North Tyneside Magistrates Court said: “You were lucky. Climbing on a bridge is not sensible. We recognise you are young and daft and we have all been there. You now have a conviction on your name.”
And Chief Inspector Karl Wilson, of Northumbria Police added: “The actions of this young man put him in serious danger and his behaviour can only be described as idiotic.
“If he was to fall from the bridge then not only would he have caused serious injury to himself but also to those driving cars on the road below.
“Anyone who is found to be behaving in this way should expect to be arrested by police and put before a criminal court.”
(Image: Newcastle Chronicle)
The court heard how police were called to the bridge just before 11am on June 28.
Iain Jordan, prosecuting, said: “The police were called at shortly before 11am following a reported of a male climbing the bridge. So units attended the scene with blue lights and sirens. Mr Dunne was asked to come down.
“One lane of traffic from Gateshead to Newcastle had to be stopped causing some congestion. Pedestrians were still crossing the bridge.”
Police spoke to Dunne from below the bridge and made his descent when officers told him to get down.
Mr Jordan added: “When told to get down he did so.”
The court was shown footage captured from one police officer’s body worn camera. It shows Dunne, dressed in a T-shirt and shorts and carrying a back-pack, make his way down from the bridge.
During his slow descent he clings on to metal nuts with his bare feet watched by the officers below, before leaping to the pavement.
When an officer asks him what he was doing he smiles and says; “Just catching the view”.
Then when asked for his name he simply says: ‘Dylan’.
Dunne, who lives with his parents in Bristol, was arrested and in interview he told police he had climbed up the bridge to take pictures, the court heard.
Neil Connell, defending, explained how Dunne decided to climb on the bridge after seeing social media posts about a group of young people who had done the same thing.
“He is a very keen amateur photographer and makes money from doing so,” he said. “He was in Newcastle with some friends, travelling around the country together. He had seen on social media some six individuals had climbed onto the bridge and they had filmed a panarama view from the bridge.
“He decided that it would be a good vantage point to take some striking photographs of the river and Newcastle.”
And Mr Connell explained that his client was an experienced climber, but came down from the bridge as soon as he was asked to be police.
He added: “Some might describe it as madness to climb a bridge to do that. When I first saw the footage I asked Mr Dunne whether he has any experience of climbing. He has a lot. He is an experienced mountain climber. His skills were the ones he relied upon.
“He was on the bridge for no more than five minutes. The police had been called to the scene and he started to climb down, he tells me, before he had to be asked.”
And the court heard how Dunne had learned from his mistake.
Mr Connell added: “He explains to me that is an incident that will not be repeated. He has learned the lesson.
“He’s spent a number of hours in the cells at Forth Banks. He was released with no money to get back to Bristol and no phone. He’s travelled up here today and slept overnight on the street because he didn’t have any money, to ensure he was here for 10am.
Dunne, of Victoria Street, was sentenced to a 12 month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £40 costs and a £20 victim surcharge.
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