Suspected burglar who hid in tree for hours severely disrupted trains near Charlton

The man was in the tree from around 2am to 7pm

A suspected burglar caused major disruptions to train services on Wednesday morning, when he refused to come down from a tree overhanging a railway station for several hours.

The strong-willed 32-year-old fugitive climbed the tree near Charlton station in south-east London in the early hours of Wednesday morning, and would not come down despite the morning rush hour.

A Metropolitan police helicopter was involved in the chase following an attempted burglary at a nearby retail park shortly before 2am.

By 7pm the man was talked down, after the British Transport Police (BTP) sent specialist officers to the tree near Barney Close.

In the meantime, rail operator Southeastern was forced to close the track during the morning peak.

Chief Inspector Jenny Gilmer said: “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 man was subsequently arrested on suspicion of burglary and obstruction of trains with intent and he remains in police custody, 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," Gilmer said.

Southeastern said that the tree overhangs the London-bound track and so it was not safe to run services while the man refused to come down, although trains out of London were able to run normally after an initial closure.

London-bound services were diverted or delayed, and tickets were accepted on the Underground and buses.

A spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Police said: “Police were called to reports of an attempted burglary at a commercial unit on the Stone Lake Retail Park, SE7, at 1.50am on August 13.

”On arrival, officers identified a suspect and began a pursuit which also involved the Metropolitan Police's Air Support Unit, during which the man was observed running close to rail lines.

“The suspect subsequently climbed a tree next to the rail lines off Barney Close.”

Additional reporting by PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power