Man who dangled over busy Plymouth road as a prank cost taxpayers nearly £5,000
A MAN left dangling from a footbridge as part of a bet cost taxpayers nearly £5,000 to be rescued, a court heard.
Lee Bassett, 29, appeared before Plymouth Magistrates yesterday where he pleaded guilty to the charge of causing danger to road users.
Bassett, of Embankment Road, was arrested on the evening of January 24 after he was spotted hanging underneath the footbridge which crosses Gdynia Way, close to the Cattedown roundabout.
Prosecutor Will Rose told magistrates all three emergency services were called to the scene just before 9pm to reports of a man with a rope around his waist suspended from the bridge.
He said Bassett, wearing a harness, was barely eight feet over the busy traffic lanes.
He said: "As a result of this dangerous and reckless act, Gdynia Way had to be closed as well as roads in the nearby area.
"Police were there for at least 90 minutes.
"Spiderman, Mr Bassett is not."
He said police and fire crews, who were forced to deploy a turntable platform, were eventually able to rescue Bassett from his predicament.
Mr Rose said that when Bassett spoke to police he revealed it was "supposed to be a joke – it's a bet that went wrong."
Bassett admitted to officers that he "had had a few jars" and "did it for a dare".
He had put the harness on and lowered himself over the railing. Once swinging there a friend was supposed to bring him up, but his friend was unable to raise him up again.
Mr Rose said: "Mr Bassett apologised for his actions. It was an acutely foolish, reckless and dangerous act causing great concern to motorists and pedestrians and was resolved at great expense to the public purse."
Magistrates heard that the operation to rescue Bassett cost police £1,800, the ambulance service £675 and the fire service £2,400.
Mr Rose said: "As a result of this bizarre prank it costs the public purse £4,875."
He reminded the court that Bassett was subject to a conditional discharge for 12 months as of November 29 last year for a public order offence. He was also subject to another conditional discharge for nine months as of August 29 last year for a similar offence.
In mitigation his defence solicitor described the incident as a "misjudged escapade from a foolish wager by two friends" and said Bassett "wholeheartedly regrets the matter".
Magistrates adjourned the sentencing until March 11, released Bassett on unconditional bail while a probation report was completed.