A man accused of trying to break into a group of shops claimed he was only on their roofs to practice free-running, the High Court heard on Monday (December 13).
Niall Barr drunkenly climbed up onto commercial premises at Bow Street in Lisburn, Co Antrim after watching a documentary on the sport of parkour, a judge was told.
The 30-year-old, of Teeling Grove in Dunmurry, is charged with three counts of attempted burglary.
He was granted bail but ordered to abide by a night-time curfew and electronic monitoring.
Barr was spotted by CCTV operators up on the shop roofs on the evening of April 25.
Prosecution counsel said police called to the scene found him drunken and struggling to form sentences.
“He explained that he was participating in the sport of parkour, also known as free-running,” the barrister said.
Barr was arrested at work the next day after examination of the CCTV footage allegedly showed him trying to gain entry to three premises.
He is accused of trying to break into branches of Waterstones, Bon Marche, and Holland and Barrett.
The prosecutor said: “He provided a statement that he had been practising parkour, took a spasm in his back and was looking for an easier way down from the roofs.”
Barr made no comment when asked if he was affiliated to any free-running clubs or groups, the court heard.
A defence barrister acknowledged the explanation was “almost comedic”, but stressed his client’s long-standing alcohol problem.
He said Barr was fuelled by drink after a shift in his recruitment agency job when he scaled the buildings.
“He said he had watched this documentary the night before... and he decided to embark on this exercise,” the barrister submitted,
“It was not a case that he was involving himself in any attempts to burgle.
“He got up on the roof of this building, took a pain in his back and was trying to get back down.”
Granting bail, Mr Justice Colton also imposed an alcohol ban as part of the release conditions.