Paint-filled balloon hits Blaine's box

The illusionist David Blaine was attacked yet again yesterday when man catapulted balloons filled with paint at his plastic box.

In the latest of the almost nightly fusillades launched at the American magician, one of the balloons splattered the side of the clear box suspended over the Thames after about seven attempts missed.

The loud thud woke Blaine with a start. Clearly annoyed, the 30-year-old New Yorker swiftly covered the paint-smeared side of the box with a blanket. The attack took place at around 3am after a man entered a derelict building at the back of the site next to Tower Bridge where Blaine is attempting to fast for 44 days. A Metropolitan Police spokesman said that Henry Cookson, 28, an unemployed man from Fulham, west London, had been charged with causing criminal damage. He was released on bail and will appear at Tower Bridge magistrates' court on 10 October.

Before the paint attack, youths set off a box of fireworks near by and two men had a fight over a guitar one of them was playing to serenade Blaine. Since Blaine began his fast on 5 September, passers-by have hurled eggs, golf balls and insults at him in an attempt to provoke a reaction. Others have bared their breasts or bottoms or banged drums to keep him awake all night. A man has been charged with threatening behaviour and criminal damage after allegedly trying to cut off his water supply.

Blaine has also been asked to pay for policing. Sir John Stevens, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, said: "We have asked the people who have been staging the event to pay for the policing. There has been a considerable expense. We have concerns about the public order situation around what he is doing down there and we are assessing that on a continuing basis.''