Man who dangled from Plymouth bridge told to curb his 'dopey' antics
A PRANKSTER who dangled himself from a footbridge over a busy city road has been told to put a stop to his "dopey" antics.
Lee Bassett appeared at Plymouth Magistrates' Court yesterday to admit causing danger to road users.
The 30-year-old had to be rescued by emergency services when a drunken prank went wrong – and cost the taxpayer nearly £5,000.
The court heard how Bassett, who gave his address as Clifton Road in North Hill, lowered himself off a bridge over Gdynia Way in a harness as part of a bet with a friend.
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Bassett's friend, however, was not able to lift him back up, leaving him dangling dangerously over the road on the approach to Cattedown Roundabout.
The defendant confessed to police at the time that he "had had a few jars" and "did it for a dare".
Magistrates gave him a 12-month community order with a supervision requirement, and ordered he do 200 hours of unpaid work.
The court heard how this was not the first time Bassett had been involved in a similar prank. He once had to be rescued by emergency services after attempting to swim across the River Tamar while under the influence of alcohol, magistrates heard.
Sentencing Bassett, magistrate chair Helen Harris said: "I might expect to hear this type of case in youth court but not in an adult court.
"Please stop being dopey," She told him.
"At your age that kind of prank really is not acceptable."
The police were called to Gdynia Way at 9.55pm on January 24 after reports of slow-moving traffic because of a dangling body, the court heard. Officers closed the road, initially suspecting it could have been a dead body.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) told the court how an ambulance and fire engine were called to the scene to help rescue Bassett from the bridge, costing the taxpayer £4,875.
Magistrates heard that the operation to rescue Bassett cost police £1,800, the ambulance service £675 and the fire service £2,400.
The CPS had asked for compensation to be demanded for the cost to the public purse.
But Mrs Harris declined to order compensation "due to the fact that the defendant still has money owing to the court."
Bassett, wearing a grey hoodie and bearing neck tattoos, still owes £419 for an earlier actual bodily harm conviction in March 2011, the court heard, having paid £100 of the initial sum.
Alex Travers, for Bassett, said: "This was a wager between friends that went wrong. Unfortunately when the friend dropped him over the bridge his friend could not lift him back up.
"My client admitted it was a foolish incident. It was never his intention to cause trouble."
Bassett was also ordered to pay a £60 victim surcharge which will be added to his outstanding court bill.