A masked woman thought to be carrying an imitation pistol caused a major disturbance in a busy shopping street after climbing up scaffolding, apparently to sunbathe.

Police officers spent three hours trying to coax the woman down from the four-storey Garnet House in St George's Road, Brighton yesterday.

Eye witnesses told how the woman was acting strangely while on the scaffolding and removed her clothes and put a dead seagull on her head.

Eventually officers detained a woman and got her into police van at about 1pm yesterday - more than two hours after they were called to the street.

She was arrested on suspicion of being in possession of an imitation firearm and public order offences.

Those in St George's Road at the time described how up to seven police cars, a police van and two fire engines attended the scene.

There was a subsequent road closure causing major disruptions for a number of local businesses in the street.

Steven Ashwood, owner of St James Furnishing carpet shop in St George's Road, said: “The woman climbed up the scaffolding and started sunbathing on the top.

“They put up a police cordon so unfortunately all the businesses were shut off.

“We had a delivery at the time so they had to drive all round the houses and then we had to walk to pick it up.”

Harriet Hunt who saw the incident unfold said: “She climbed up onto the roof through an open window.

“It sounds strange but she was wearing a dead seagull on her head and at some points she was stripping off.”

She added: “The police were trying to talk her down for ages.”

Any witnesses are asked to contact Sussex Police on 101 quoting serial 173 15/5.




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