Security concerns as The Frythe, in Welwyn, is breached by ‘urban explorers’

PUBLISHED: 12:00 13 May 2012

The masked explorer Northern ninja slides down the banister inside the manor house

The masked explorer Northern ninja slides down the banister inside the manor house


another iconic Welwyn Hatfield building has been targeted by camera-toting intruders – and this time, even they have raised concerns about a lack of security.

The Frythe in Welwyn, the former base of pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, has become the latest conquest of urban explorers – people who gain access to abandoned buildings and take photos of what’s inside.

Pictures of the disused manor house have been posted on urban exploration forum 28 Days Later, by an explorer calling themselves “Northern ninja”.

This week, the WHT was contacted by someone purporting to be ‘Northern ninja’, who claimed to have spent SIX HOURS on site without being caught.

And he/she said it wasn’t even the first time they had got in.

Another conquest for the ‘urban expolorers’

IT’S not the first time an abandoned building in Times Territory has attracted the attentions of urban explorers.

Only three months ago, the WHT reported on how a group of masked intruders got inside the former Shredded Wheat factory in Broadwater Road, WGC.

The amateur adventurers took photos from outside, inside and on the roof of the iconic Grade II-listed building before posting them on the 28 Days Later website.

Supermarket giant Tesco, which owns the site, promised it would be stepping up security in the wake of the intrusion.

But since then, a new set of pictures has been posted by an explorer calling themselves Urban Ghost.

He/she claim to be local, and made reference to the WHT’s previous story on the site.

We attempted to contact Urban Ghost through 28 Days Later, but have yet to receive a response.

In an error-strewn email, ‘Northern ninja’ wrote: “I managed to concer the former glaxo smith kline site in the frythe [sic].

“I entered the site through a hole in the fence and did not break in.”

The writer claimed to have gained access to the building through an open window on the ground floor, before making their way towards their “main objective”, the manor house.

They said that on a previous trip the house was alarmed, but was not on this occasion.

They added: “The main point of me writting to you is the lack of security. It was too easy to mange this and is scary to think who else would get in [sic].”

The explorer claimed a security guard sat in a hut at the front gates “doing nothing”.

“In the 6 hours that i was on the site i did not see them patroll once and at ocasion when i was near the front saw they were still in the hut [sic],” they added.

GlaxoSmithKline put its research site at The Frythe up for sale in March 2010, and it was bought for £15m by development firm Lands Improvement that December.

The company plans to build 200 homes on the land.

A spokesman for Lands Improvements said The Frythe had been the subject of a number of break-ins and trespasses since the company took over the site.

“We do everything we can to discourage people from entering the site, and it’s purely for their own saftey,” he said.

“But that doesn’t mean with a site as large as this we’re going to keep everybody out.

“We’ve notified our contractors about the fencing, but other than that all we can do is discourage people from entering.”

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