Neighbours call for action over children playing on rooftops

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A FALL which left a five-year boy in hospital came after repeated complaints from neighbours about children playing on rooftops.

The youngster had to be airlifted to Southampton General Hospital on Sunday afternoon after falling and ending up trapped in a narrow gap between two walls. His injuries are not life-threatening.

Paramedics were called to Elm Grove in Southsea after he took a tumble off the flat roof to the rear of the T&J Mahal Indian restaurant.

Before his fall the boy was seen on top of the roof with several other children and it has now emerged that residents in nearby Belmont Grove raised concerns to Hampshire Constabulary and Portsmouth City Council before the accident.

One man, who didn’t want to be named but lives behind the rooftop, said he had seen more children playing in the same place on Sunday evening. We have watched them playing on much higher roofs than the one he fell from,’ he said.

‘It’s getting ridiculous; there was one occasion when I actually had to climb up and help a small boy down because he was stuck.

‘I’m glad the little lad is going to be alright, but maybe this will act as a wake-up call for someone to do something about it.

‘Either the parents need to be firmer or something needs to be done to stop them climbing up there – before tragedy really does strike.’

Firefighters from Cosham fire station were called to help rescue the youngster and almost had to break down the back door of the closed takeaway to reach him – but instead managed to lift him over a fence.

The accident happened at about 12.20pm and the boy’s injuries are serious but not life-threatening.

A woman who lives in a block of flats which overlooks the rooftop, who did not want to be named, said she had seen around six children aged between five and 12 playing dangerously.

She said: ‘It was only a matter of time before something like this happened.

‘Some of the children around here are out of control, they climb over the fences and you see them running around on top of buildings.

‘I’ve even seen them riding bikes around on rooftops – their parents really need to take them in hand.’

Public Protection Inspector, Darren Murphy, said: ‘At this time our thoughts are for the child’s speedy recovery.

‘Inquiries revealed that a number of young children had climbed high onto a roof, and a five-year-old boy had fallen, sustaining serious head injuries.

‘In incidents of this type the police will attend and, in the absence of a criminal matter, the report is referred to social services.

‘The incident is still under review by Portsmouth Children Services.’