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Police called to Leas Lift, Folkestone after person spotted on tracks

The company behind an historic coastal landmark have warned about the dangers of trespassing after a man was spotted scaling a cliff this morning.

Dog walkers reportedly stopped in their tracks this morning after they saw a person on the Leas Lift near the beach in Folkestone wearing no safety gear.

The grade II listed water lift was built in 1885 and is one of the last of its kind in the country.

Police confirmed that work is taking place on the Leas Lift today. (6235732)
Police confirmed that work is taking place on the Leas Lift today. (6235732)

Public concerns had been growing earlier today about the nature of the reported climb.

Fundraiser James Walker-Osborn, of the Folkestone Leas Lift Company (FLLC), said: "Unfortunately we have to confirm that it was indeed a trespasser on the Leas Lift today, at this point there doesn't appear to be any damage.

"There was no planned work on the Leas Lift for today and there would never be any work carried out without hi-vis and safety equipment. In this case an abseil rope would have been used.

"Without safety equipment it is incredibly dangerous to climb the tracks.

"We ask that the public remain vigilant and help protect the Leas Lift and please do call the police where anything suspicious or dangerous occurs."

An eyewitness said that they saw a person climbing up the structure: "I was just walking past and took a picture.

"There were a few people at the bottom walking their dogs, watching.

"They didn't have safety gear on. They were hanging off the car."

The Leas Lift was forced to shut in January 2017 when health and safety experts ruled it needed a second brake system.

Campaigners have already raised more than £80,000 towards reopening the Victorian visitor attraction but say they need to stump up £500,000 to re-open the lift.

The money will pay to bring it up to current safety legislation and pay to keep it running for the first year.

So far owners The Radnor Estate and The Roger De Haan Charitable Trust have made the bulk of donations.

Police confirmed officers were called to Lower Sandgate Road in Folkestone at 9.18am after it was reported men were climbing on the Leas Lifts.

A spokesman said: "Officers attended several minutes later where everything appeared to be in order and work was being carried out on the lifts.

"Later that day officers received new information and are now making further enquiries to establish whether or not any criminal offences have taken place."

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