Welwyn Garden City thrill-seeker defends dangerous hobby in spite of police and council warnings
PUBLISHED: 11:34 19 September 2017 | UPDATED: 15:50 19 September 2017
A thrill-seeking dad has defended his dangerous hobby following backlash on social media after youths were seen on the roof of the old Shredded Wheat factory in Welwyn Garden City.
Andehh Mansell, 22, of Lee Common, Welwyn Garden City, has been climbing buildings with no safety equipment for seven years - and has even done it naked.
The father of a one-year-old son said the scariest climb he ever did was up a skyscraper in London that was in the middle of being built and was covered in scaffolding.
Andehh says his hobby is known as ‘freerunning’, and is the movement over any ground or buildings using only the body.
Last week the Welwyn Hatfield Times reported that police were called to reports of youths climbing on the roof of the former Shredded Wheat factory in Welwyn Garden City.
Andehh said: “It wasn’t us but I saw the comments and wanted to put my opinion of climbing roofs and buildings out there.
“I do it for the thrill and the adrenaline kicks.
“I have never vandalised anything while climbing.
“Sadly some people do, but there are some of us out there that just do it for a hobby and to get some great landscape shots.
“I did once break a part of a building by accident but I bent it back into place.
“If I did break something I would leave a note and cover the costs.”
Andehh has been stopped by the police a few times over the years while jumping across buildings, performing flips on roof tops and standing on the edge of tall buildings.
He said: “The police go down the route of trespassing but it never goes anywhere.
“Some officers have said to me and my friends that they would rather we didn’t do it because they get called out and it then wastes their time.
“I’m not really bothered that it wastes police time because it’s just a hobby.”
Andehh said he and his friends regularly climb on buildings in the borough, including the old Shredded Wheat factory.
In 2013, while in a gym full of jumping obstacles Andehh attempted a jump but landed on his head causing his body to be paralysed for a couple of hours due the nerves in his spine being trapped.
Andehh, who works in floor restoration, added: “It didn’t put me off jumping or climbing.
“I don’t ever think about the bad things that could happen while doing it.
“If I don’t feel comfortable I won’t do it. I make sure it is as safe as I possibly can.
“I want to go home to my son every night.”
A spokeswoman for the Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council said: “Trespassing on the roof of any tall building is dangerous and we will be reviewing the preventative measures we have in place.”
Safer Neighbourhood team inspector for Welwyn Hatfield Sophia Adams, said: “The Shredded Wheat building is unsafe as it has been abandoned for a number of years and is in disrepair.
“If members of the public are found at these enclosed premises, officers will attend to deal with the situation.
“It should also be pointed out that the building is not only unsafe due to the disrepair but due to asbestos as well.
“Parkour can be very dangerous and we would urge those who choose to participate in this activity to think very carefully about where they choose to do it.”