Case dropped against four men who ‘base jumped’ from 1,000ft Mendlesham mast
PUBLISHED: 05:30 28 September 2019 | UPDATED: 10:53 30 September 2019
Four people who base jumped from Suffolk’s tallest structure have escaped prosecution after the case against them was dropped.
Javi Gomez, 27, of Benacre Road, Ellough, Beccles, Jamie Harris, 39, of Florence Barclay Close, Thetford, Louis Jones, 33, of Cherry Hinton Road, Cambridge, and Scott Turner, 40, of Whitehill Road, Cambridge, jumped from the 1,002ft Mendlesham mast, near Stowmarket, on February 15 this year.
Base jumping itself is not illegal in the UK but accessing sites to jump from without permission can sometimes lead to charges being brought.
The four men were charged with being found in or upon enclosed premises under the Vagrancy Act and were due to appear before magistrates in Ipswich on Friday.
However, the charges at Suffolk Magistrates' Court were withdrawn by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) prior to the hearing taking place.
Colette Harper, prosecutor, told magistrates the men had jumped from the top of the mast on February 15 but following a review, the CPS was dropping the case.
Mrs Harper added that it would be communicated with Suffolk police - who made the decision to charge the men - that in future such cases should be dealt with by way of community protection notice or caution.
Base jumping is an extreme sport which involves jumping from cliffs, mountains or buildings wearing a wing suit or using a parachute.
The acronym BASE stands for four categories of fixed objects from which people jump - building, antenna, span (bridges), and earth (cliff).
The legal position on base jumping is different in other countries, in the USA it is banned in most cities and national parks, and Australia also has a tough stance to the extreme sport.
The Mendlesham mast is owned and operated by telecommunications company Arqiva.
A spokesman for the company said: "We do not comment on individual cases, nor do we condone this activity. As is standard practice in situations of this nature, it was brought to the attention of the police."
Andrew Stringer, county and district councillor for Mendlesham, said: "It is something which is incredibly reckless but it is a very tall structure so I can why it might attract base jumpers.
"I certainly wouldn't encourage people to do that type of thing.
"I've always thought security there is pretty tight so it might be that they want to look at that in the future."
Jeff Montgomery, safety and technical officer at the British Parachute Association, said: "It is not something we regulate or keep a close eye on but we are aware it goes on and that a lot of people do it.
"It is a risky sport and you have to be competent to jump from an object or cliff."
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