UPDATE: Charlton burglary suspect brought down after 17-hour tree stand-off causes Southeastern chaos

Southeastern train disruption after 'trespasser' closes Woolwich Arsenal station. Pictures by Simon Hildrew / Deadline Pictures

Chief Inspector Jenny Gilmer

Burglary suspect hides in tree and causes trains chaos - how should he be brought down?

UPDATE: Charlton burglary suspect arrested after 17-hour tree stand-off causes Southeastern chaos

UPDATE: Charlton burglary suspect arrested after 17-hour tree stand-off causes Southeastern chaos

First published in News
Last updated
This Is Local London: Photograph of the Author by , deputy news editor

A Charlton burglary suspect fled from police along railway lines and climbed up into a tree, staying there for 17 hours and causing widespread Southeastern trains disruption.

Police closed off part of Barney Close in Charlton for most of yesterday (August 13), trying to talk him down from the branches. He was finally apprended and arrested early yesterday evening, just after the rush hour and lines finally reopened.

This Is Local London:

Chief Inspector Jenny Gilmer of British Transport Police said: "Shortly after 7pm on August 13, a man was talked down from a tree near to the rail line at Charlton.

"The man had been in the tree since the early hours of the morning and his return to the ground marked the end of a difficult and lengthy operation involving British Transport Police, Met Police, London Fire and Rescue, Network Rail and Southeastern trains.

"The 32-year-old man was subsequently arrested on suspicion of burglary and obstruction of trains with intent and he remains in police custody."

This Is Local London:

CI Gilmer added: "I'd like to thank all those who have worked tirelessly throughout the day to bring this operation to a safe conclusion and would also like to thank the local community and travelling public for their continuing patience and understanding during, what was, an extremely sensitive process."

Train passenger Joanne Stone tweeted that commuters were being told by the driver to look out for the man as they passed, like a guided tour.

She said: "Obviously didn't do a good job of hiding then as the driver was pointing him out!"

The commuter went on: "I had headphones in but he definitely said to look, just like a tour, "If you look to your left now...."

Train passenger Joanne Stone tweeted that commuters were being told by the driver to look out for the man as they passed, like a guided tour.

She said: "Obviously didn't do a good job of hiding then as the driver was pointing him out!"

The commuter went on: "I had headphones in but he definitely said to look, just like a tour, "If you look to your left now...."

This Is Local London:

But Barney Close resident Len Brown, 78, was less than impressed. He said: "He's not going anywhere is he. He's trapped, there's no way out.

"It's a lot of money spent on just one young bloke."

This Is Local London:

Services between Cannon Street and Greenwich, and between London Charing Cross and Gillingham were all affected. 

A spokesman for Southeastern said: "At 3.06am this morning we received a report of a person having climbed a tree at the side of the rail line between Charlton station and Charlton Lane crossing.

"Clearly while this person remains in the tree, which overhangs the line, it wouldn’t be safe for us to run our trains in the area and so we’ve been diverting trains via Bexleyheath this morning."

This Is Local London:

How could he have been brought down?

Here at News Shopper we came up with five ways the police could get him down: 

1. Coax him down with the irresistible smell of bacon sarnies 

2. Tie a Taser onto the end of a stick and shock him out 

3. Burn the tree down 

4. Shoot one of BoJo's water cannons at him (he will probably need a good wash by now)

5. Use a chainsaw to cut the tree down

This Is Local London:

Here are some other suggestions we've had from our readers:

1. Play Justin Beiber over and over again until he comes down

2. Treat him like a cat and tap his food bowl until he comes down

3. Tranquillizer dart  

4. Tempt him with some Jaffa Cakes

5. ... and my favourite, just push him out of the tree

Comments (30)

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11:02am Wed 13 Aug 14

Teri-cyclist says...

And the station staff at London Bridge got annoyed when I tried to jump onto a train that was preparing to leave... The police helicopter was overhead for hours last night. I actually fell asleep while it circled overhead it was there so long. I can't help thinking that police on cycles and dogs would be more effective once a suspect has been pinpointed - rather than the helicopter just hanging there.
And the station staff at London Bridge got annoyed when I tried to jump onto a train that was preparing to leave... The police helicopter was overhead for hours last night. I actually fell asleep while it circled overhead it was there so long. I can't help thinking that police on cycles and dogs would be more effective once a suspect has been pinpointed - rather than the helicopter just hanging there. Teri-cyclist
  • Score: 22

11:12am Wed 13 Aug 14

greenette says...

I'm sorry you've already disrupted my whole commute which considering the time it happened should not have been the case, cut the **** power, drag he\she out of the tree. Job done

Seriously this is pathetic
I'm sorry you've already disrupted my whole commute which considering the time it happened should not have been the case, cut the **** power, drag he\she out of the tree. Job done Seriously this is pathetic greenette
  • Score: 47

11:32am Wed 13 Aug 14

Eagles_Man says...

greenette wrote:
I'm sorry you've already disrupted my whole commute which considering the time it happened should not have been the case, cut the **** power, drag he\she out of the tree. Job done

Seriously this is pathetic
Oh, but then he might scratch his little finger and then sue the Met for thousands ... on Legal Aid, natch.
[quote][p][bold]greenette[/bold] wrote: I'm sorry you've already disrupted my whole commute which considering the time it happened should not have been the case, cut the **** power, drag he\she out of the tree. Job done Seriously this is pathetic[/p][/quote]Oh, but then he might scratch his little finger and then sue the Met for thousands ... on Legal Aid, natch. Eagles_Man
  • Score: 45

12:00pm Wed 13 Aug 14

sarlane says...

It seems this overflown incident caused chaos across the Southeastern network and, of course, the inevitable "congestion in the London Bridge area" because my trains from Lee (which are nowhere near Charlton and on a completely different line) were badly affected. The police just so love making a drama out of a crisis, don't they! Why not just do as Greenette says - cut the power briefly and pull him out of the tree? Oh no - let's disrupt everyone's commute to work and drag it out as long as possible.
It seems this overflown incident caused chaos across the Southeastern network and, of course, the inevitable "congestion in the London Bridge area" because my trains from Lee (which are nowhere near Charlton and on a completely different line) were badly affected. The police just so love making a drama out of a crisis, don't they! Why not just do as Greenette says - cut the power briefly and pull him out of the tree? Oh no - let's disrupt everyone's commute to work and drag it out as long as possible. sarlane
  • Score: 38

12:01pm Wed 13 Aug 14

sarlane says...

Sorry - meant to type "overblown" but as the helicopter was involved (why?) then perhaps "overflown" is more appropriate!
Sorry - meant to type "overblown" but as the helicopter was involved (why?) then perhaps "overflown" is more appropriate! sarlane
  • Score: 5

12:50pm Wed 13 Aug 14

greenette says...

And its still going on, what is so difficult about this to manage.

Met Police or transport, get a grip quite literally!!
And its still going on, what is so difficult about this to manage. Met Police or transport, get a grip quite literally!! greenette
  • Score: 20

1:34pm Wed 13 Aug 14

HelpDesk says...

Let him rest there! Extremely ridiculous attempts to handle it.
Let him rest there! Extremely ridiculous attempts to handle it. HelpDesk
  • Score: 20

2:49pm Wed 13 Aug 14

white rabbit9 says...

This will be nothing when the real sh** storm hits.
This will be nothing when the real sh** storm hits. white rabbit9
  • Score: -10

3:08pm Wed 13 Aug 14

Joelo says...

The police can't do right for doing wrong! Seriously drag him from the tree? That won't end up with the police being sued or accused of being to heavy handed!

If it was up to me I'd start a small fire at the base of the tree, he'd soon come down!
The police can't do right for doing wrong! Seriously drag him from the tree? That won't end up with the police being sued or accused of being to heavy handed! If it was up to me I'd start a small fire at the base of the tree, he'd soon come down! Joelo
  • Score: 40

3:41pm Wed 13 Aug 14

Gypo.Joe says...

No cry's for.. " deport him. "


YET !
No cry's for.. " deport him. " YET ! Gypo.Joe
  • Score: 4

3:56pm Wed 13 Aug 14

jenhotlips01 says...

Stick a net under the tree, Tazer him...he'll fall...Safely!!...Th
en all the decent people can get home !!
Stick a net under the tree, Tazer him...he'll fall...Safely!!...Th en all the decent people can get home !! jenhotlips01
  • Score: 35

3:59pm Wed 13 Aug 14

jenhotlips01 says...

jenhotlips01 wrote:
Stick a net under the tree, Tazer him...he'll fall...Safely!!...Th

en all the decent people can get home !!
Drag him down or tazer him into a net if he sues so what, they have used and are allowed to use "reasonable force"...why pussyfoot around honestly!
[quote][p][bold]jenhotlips01[/bold] wrote: Stick a net under the tree, Tazer him...he'll fall...Safely!!...Th en all the decent people can get home !![/p][/quote]Drag him down or tazer him into a net if he sues so what, they have used and are allowed to use "reasonable force"...why pussyfoot around honestly! jenhotlips01
  • Score: 15

4:01pm Wed 13 Aug 14

Joelo says...

jenhotlips01 wrote:
jenhotlips01 wrote:
Stick a net under the tree, Tazer him...he'll fall...Safely!!...Th


en all the decent people can get home !!
Drag him down or tazer him into a net if he sues so what, they have used and are allowed to use "reasonable force"...why pussyfoot around honestly!
How do you know they've not tried to taser him before he got in the tree? He's wearing full leathers incase you've not noticed so tazer wouldn't work.
[quote][p][bold]jenhotlips01[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]jenhotlips01[/bold] wrote: Stick a net under the tree, Tazer him...he'll fall...Safely!!...Th en all the decent people can get home !![/p][/quote]Drag him down or tazer him into a net if he sues so what, they have used and are allowed to use "reasonable force"...why pussyfoot around honestly![/p][/quote]How do you know they've not tried to taser him before he got in the tree? He's wearing full leathers incase you've not noticed so tazer wouldn't work. Joelo
  • Score: 3

4:05pm Wed 13 Aug 14

Steve87 says...

Just shot him with a shotgun. I need to get home tonight to tidy the house as my mum comes home from holiday late this evening.
Just shot him with a shotgun. I need to get home tonight to tidy the house as my mum comes home from holiday late this evening. Steve87
  • Score: 37

4:07pm Wed 13 Aug 14

Vish1983 says...

i think that he should be forced to stay up the tree instead of going to prison. That way he can be used as a tourist attraction generating revenues for the local community and Network Rail
i think that he should be forced to stay up the tree instead of going to prison. That way he can be used as a tourist attraction generating revenues for the local community and Network Rail Vish1983
  • Score: 58

4:09pm Wed 13 Aug 14

jenhotlips01 says...

Joelo wrote:
jenhotlips01 wrote:
jenhotlips01 wrote:
Stick a net under the tree, Tazer him...he'll fall...Safely!!...Th



en all the decent people can get home !!
Drag him down or tazer him into a net if he sues so what, they have used and are allowed to use "reasonable force"...why pussyfoot around honestly!
How do you know they've not tried to taser him before he got in the tree? He's wearing full leathers incase you've not noticed so tazer wouldn't work.
Lol...ok get the fire brigade to water fire him out of tree!...with net in place at the bottom, for his own safety...
[quote][p][bold]Joelo[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]jenhotlips01[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]jenhotlips01[/bold] wrote: Stick a net under the tree, Tazer him...he'll fall...Safely!!...Th en all the decent people can get home !![/p][/quote]Drag him down or tazer him into a net if he sues so what, they have used and are allowed to use "reasonable force"...why pussyfoot around honestly![/p][/quote]How do you know they've not tried to taser him before he got in the tree? He's wearing full leathers incase you've not noticed so tazer wouldn't work.[/p][/quote]Lol...ok get the fire brigade to water fire him out of tree!...with net in place at the bottom, for his own safety... jenhotlips01
  • Score: 21

4:14pm Wed 13 Aug 14

Joelo says...

jenhotlips01 wrote:
Joelo wrote:
jenhotlips01 wrote:
jenhotlips01 wrote:
Stick a net under the tree, Tazer him...he'll fall...Safely!!...Th




en all the decent people can get home !!
Drag him down or tazer him into a net if he sues so what, they have used and are allowed to use "reasonable force"...why pussyfoot around honestly!
How do you know they've not tried to taser him before he got in the tree? He's wearing full leathers incase you've not noticed so tazer wouldn't work.
Lol...ok get the fire brigade to water fire him out of tree!...with net in place at the bottom, for his own safety...
I like the sound of that! Or a test for the new water cannons?
[quote][p][bold]jenhotlips01[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Joelo[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]jenhotlips01[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]jenhotlips01[/bold] wrote: Stick a net under the tree, Tazer him...he'll fall...Safely!!...Th en all the decent people can get home !![/p][/quote]Drag him down or tazer him into a net if he sues so what, they have used and are allowed to use "reasonable force"...why pussyfoot around honestly![/p][/quote]How do you know they've not tried to taser him before he got in the tree? He's wearing full leathers incase you've not noticed so tazer wouldn't work.[/p][/quote]Lol...ok get the fire brigade to water fire him out of tree!...with net in place at the bottom, for his own safety...[/p][/quote]I like the sound of that! Or a test for the new water cannons? Joelo
  • Score: 10

4:36pm Wed 13 Aug 14

Citygirl83 says...

Lots of **** off people at cannon street and london bridge. Safe journeys all! X
Lots of **** off people at cannon street and london bridge. Safe journeys all! X Citygirl83
  • Score: 13

4:55pm Wed 13 Aug 14

concerned.erith says...

What a waste of everone's time - police and disrupted passengers. Get a water cannon and he's bound to come down without any further persuasion!
What a waste of everone's time - police and disrupted passengers. Get a water cannon and he's bound to come down without any further persuasion! concerned.erith
  • Score: 22

5:19pm Wed 13 Aug 14

Hk says...

Its an absolute joke. Early hours of this morning this started and the idiot is still up there. Start running the trains - that'll scare him out of the tree!
Its an absolute joke. Early hours of this morning this started and the idiot is still up there. Start running the trains - that'll scare him out of the tree! Hk
  • Score: 22

5:36pm Wed 13 Aug 14

toomush2drink says...

Just leave him there with a police guard, he will come down when he wants food or water or he aches like hell. Better still he may fall asleep and fall down, no ones to blame but himself then.
Just leave him there with a police guard, he will come down when he wants food or water or he aches like hell. Better still he may fall asleep and fall down, no ones to blame but himself then. toomush2drink
  • Score: 26

6:13pm Wed 13 Aug 14

mizzio says...

I would bring his mother down, if he has one and get her to deal with it.
I would bring his mother down, if he has one and get her to deal with it. mizzio
  • Score: 23

7:36pm Wed 13 Aug 14

Dean ambrose says...

can't they just call the special branch
can't they just call the special branch Dean ambrose
  • Score: 58

7:38pm Wed 13 Aug 14

The-Voice-Of-Reason says...

Leave him up there until Gazza arrives with some chicken, a can of lager and a fishing rod
Leave him up there until Gazza arrives with some chicken, a can of lager and a fishing rod The-Voice-Of-Reason
  • Score: 65

7:57am Thu 14 Aug 14

paulbexleyheath says...

Gypo.Joe wrote:
No cry's for.. " deport him. "


YET !
chances are hes from round here ....
[quote][p][bold]Gypo.Joe[/bold] wrote: No cry's for.. " deport him. " YET ![/p][/quote]chances are hes from round here .... paulbexleyheath
  • Score: 7

11:57am Thu 14 Aug 14

kentlad says...

Personally i would have tasered the s~@t bag and let him fall out of the tree live rails or not!
Personally i would have tasered the s~@t bag and let him fall out of the tree live rails or not! kentlad
  • Score: 12

12:56pm Thu 14 Aug 14

sarfflondonbird says...

Couldn't agree more with all the other posters, either it should have been tazered, shot, or just left up the tree until it dropped. Waste of taxpayers money again, having to stand around watching what the twonk does next.
Couldn't agree more with all the other posters, either it should have been tazered, shot, or just left up the tree until it dropped. Waste of taxpayers money again, having to stand around watching what the twonk does next. sarfflondonbird
  • Score: -5

5:10pm Thu 14 Aug 14

bexleyman says...

I'm glad he was finally "aprended"
I'm glad he was finally "aprended" bexleyman
  • Score: 3

9:17am Tue 19 Aug 14

Peace+Blessings says...

The report does not substantiate the nationality of the subject.
"The 32-year-old man was subsequently arrested on suspicion of burglary and obstruction of trains with intent and he remains in police custody."
Therefore calls to 'deport' him are rather unfair.
His actions have caused major disruption, however, and we should hope that the London Metropolitan Police Service and British Transport Police have taken from this experience and will be able to handle such an incident were it to happen again in the future.
The report does not substantiate the nationality of the subject. "The 32-year-old man was subsequently arrested on suspicion of burglary and obstruction of trains with intent and he remains in police custody." Therefore calls to 'deport' him are rather unfair. His actions have caused major disruption, however, and we should hope that the London Metropolitan Police Service and British Transport Police have taken from this experience and will be able to handle such an incident were it to happen again in the future. Peace+Blessings
  • Score: 2

2:02am Thu 21 Aug 14

ISaidThis says...

What's the point in deporting him? Which country would take in this waster?
What's the point in deporting him? Which country would take in this waster? ISaidThis
  • Score: 5

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