Commercial, abandoned, development and construction sites are seeing a significant rise in the number of trespassers who are prepared to risk their own lives to partake in stunts and thrill-seeking activities.
This can be anything from dangerous selfies taken from the edge of rooftops, skateboarding, base jumping and parkour at height.
These urban explorers typically visit in the hours of darkness and look for seemingly abandoned buildings, construction sites, and difficult to access areas, such as sewers and underground bunkers.
The use of social media
On YouTube and Instagram, videos of stunts are shared under the tagline “Urbex UK”, getting thousands of views, spreading the word, gaining notoriety and publicising the location of the sites where the filming is taking place, encouraging others to visit.
Ally Law, an urban explorer has 2.96m followers on YouTube and Night Scape has 1.05 million, showing just how popular and lucrative these videos can be, with each million views earning the channel approximately $1,000. When you add in merchandise, it can be a lucrative source of income.
Urban exploring used to be an underground movement but the ability for anyone to create a video on their mobile and then upload it across various platforms seamlessly has led to the activities of urban explorers becoming much more mainstream.
Landowners’ and tenants’ liability
Occupiers' liability towards visitors is regulated in the Occupiers' Liability Act 1957 and their liability to trespassers is provided under the Occupiers' Liability Act 1984. There will be a duty of care, even towards trespassers.
In the case of Buckett v Staffordshire County Council, Case no 3SO90263, where a boy was injured after jumping from a roof onto a skylight, where he fell through and seriously injured himself, the court recommended that occupiers carry out regular risk assessments to identify reasonably foreseeable activities on their properties and carry out inspections and maintenance to ensure there are no defects that could breach their duties to trespassers.
In addition to the above, we would also recommend preventative measures are taken for your sites. Prevention can include installing and increasing security, such as monitored CCTV, manned guarding and enhanced physical barriers.
High Court injunctions
Some construction firms have also taken preventative legal action by obtaining High Court injunctions, meaning that trespass becomes a serious offence that can result in heavy fines and potentially a prison sentence. You can read Shoosmiths’ article about injunctions being used as a remedy for trespass.
One such injunction covers Merlin Entertainment properties, incorporating Legoland Windsor and Alton Towers Resort, and names three trespassers; Ally Law is included as a named individual on the injunction.
Need more information
Please get in touch if you would like our assistance on security measures to secure sites and prevent trespassers. If you have trespassers remaining on your site, we can also evict them for you.