YOUNG tearaways are risking their lives by loitering on rooftops in a craze sweeping Portsmouth city centre.
Police say gangs of young people are causing damage, smoking drugs and throwing objects off the tops of buildings in the Commercial Road area of Landport.
Most of the culprits are thought to be local schoolchildren.
But in one incident a homeless couple even set up a tent and slept on top of the Cheltenham and Gloucester
Police fear it is only a matter of time until someone is seriously hurt or even killed.
Now they are cracking down on people putting their lives in danger by trespassing in the area.
Sergeant Rob Sutton, from Portsmouth’s city centre unit, said: ‘Lots of youths are causing damage, smoking drugs and throwing things off the roofs. It’s so easy to access the roofs.
‘We have got a community priority to try and solve this once and for all.
‘The worst case scenario is someone’s going to fall off a roof while they’re messing around high on drugs, or have life-changing injuries.
‘There was a tent pitched above Cheltenham and Gloucester with a bloke and a girl in there.
‘They are homeless and that’s where they’ve been sleeping.
‘It’s not safe at all. When it’s dark there are so many different ledges and heights of roofs up there, they could easily fall off and injure themselves.
‘If there was a fire in one of those buildings at night we would never know about them to rescue them.’
Police are now working in partnership with businesses in the area and other local agencies to stamp out the problem.
Sgt Sutton added: ‘We are working with the fire brigade, local council and trying to work with the retailers to try and stop people on street level gaining access to the roofs.
‘It is an ongoing problem, particularly on hot summer evenings – it’s somewhere the kids hang out.
‘It’s dangerous and it’s causing damage to the roofs.’
Anyone with information should contact police at Portsmouth Central police station on 101 or dial 999 in an emergency.