Lancaster neighbours talk exclusively of 29-hour Skerton roof siege terror

Residents have spoken of the “terrifying” 29 hours they spent trapped in their homes as a wanted man held siege on a rooftop in Lancaster.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 14th August 2019, 3:19 pm
Updated Wednesday, 14th August 2019, 4:19 pm
The aftermath of the siege in Alexandra Road.
The aftermath of the siege in Alexandra Road.

Tyrone Richards was eventually brought down from the roof in Alexandra Road in the early hours of Wednesday after a stand-off which began on Monday night.

Dozens of officers, riot police and trained negotiators had spent around 29 hours at the scene, and a drone was used along with specialist lighting and camera equipment.

During the incident, witnesses say Richards demanded food from officers and shouted abuse from the roof of a house.

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The man on the roof of the house. Photo by Miles Carr.

Slates and other objects, including a Christmas tree and ornaments, reigned down damaging several cars in the street in the process.

Gas and electric also had to be switched off in the street for safety reasons

Police eventually used a mobile crane to get the after the 28-year-old from Lancaster down from the roof at around 3am on Wednesday after he told officers he was “tired and hungry”.

He was later arrested on suspicion of affray and criminal damage to a dwelling and is in police custody.

Police are dealing with an ongoing incident involving a man on a roof in Alexandra Road, Lancaster. Photo by Caaren Outram.

The siege started at around 10.40pm on Monday, when it is believed Richards gained entry to the loft of a house, before barricading himself in and then tunnelling through the roof to a neighbouring property.

With police unable to gain entry to the loft space, he smashed his way through the roof.

Nicole Pearson was in the house below with her four-month-old daughter.

She ended up trapped inside after police said it was safer than trying to leave.

The aftermath of the siege at a house in Alexandra Road.

Nicole was eventually able to get out with her baby on Tuesday, and returned to her wrecked home on Wednesday morning to discover cracks in her bedroom ceiling and severe damage to the loft, with rubble scattered down the stairs.

She has now had to find alternative accommodation while repairs are made to the property.

“I got about two hours sleep,” she said. “I just didn’t feel safe in the house with my baby; I stayed downstairs because I felt a bit safer.

“The police said I was safer indoors than coming out because of all the slates being thrown off the roof.”

Police at the scene in Alexandra Road in Skerton on Tuesday afternoon. Photo by Andrew Goulding

One man living near the scene said it was “terrifying”.

“There was suddenly an almighty bang and he started throwing tiles down from the roof,” he said.

“We haven’t slept properly since it started, it was terrifying.

“I got out on Tuesday to go to work and then wasn’t allowed back home so I ended up sleeping at work.

“It was crazy, like something you see on TV.”

Jess Barraclough lives a few doors away with her son Mason, three, and fiancee Nicola Makemson, 34.

“It’s been really distressing,” she said. “We only moved in in April.

“I had to get my son out as soon as I could. We went out on Tuesday and then I was told I wasn’t allowed back in - we weren’t allowed to come back and get anything until Wednesday morning.

“You just don’t think something like this will happen on your doorstep.

“You couldn’t fault the police or the PCSOs, they were fantastic.”

One woman, who did not wish to be named, stayed in her house throughout the incident.

“We were all blocked in and told to stay indoors, she said.

“I am going to write to the police to commend them,” she said. “They were excellent. It was all quite interesting to watch to be honest.”

Alex Horrocks watched the drama unfold from neighbouring Clarendon Road.

“There was a line of riot police all down the alleyway behind our house,” she said.

“I have a one-month-old son so I took him to my mum’s to keep him safe. It was just crazy.”

Andrew Goulding watched the incident unfold from his house near the scene.

“Me and my wife were just settling down for bed when I heard a load of shouting coming from outside the house,” he said.

“I noticed two police cars and a riot squad van as well as enough officers for a small raid blocking the entrance to my street.

“They advised him just to stop and come down; soon after a dog squad arrive again more abuse started.

“They tried reasoning with him and and sent in a negotiator which failed at this point.

“Over the course of the night more officers arrived and stood in wait.

“Around 8am the officer had a fully forced cordoned area; no one was allowed to leave their house or enter the area without a police escort.

“Nothing more really happened from the man himself, only popping his head out of the holes he made in the roof to let them know he was still there and that was where he planned on staying,

“He demanded some food and water and then went back into the roof.

“More officers arrived as they tried to formulate a plan of taking action, occasionally shouting up to him for a reply to make sure he was still awake.

“I woke on Wednesday to find the streets empty and just a single van at the house where the man fled to and was later told an arrest was made just after 3am.

“Me and several other people felt like we were hostages in our own homes, not being allowed to leave.”