A COMMUNITY came to a standstill last night as a teenager staged a dramatic five-hour rooftop protest.
Hundreds watched as machete-wielding Luke Laidlaw, 19, from the Garden City area of Deeside, spent five hours on the roof of businesses on Station Road, Queensferry.
A police helicopter hovered above the scene as emergency services and police negotiators attempted to bring the siege to a safe conclusion.
Mr Laidlaw was finally arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and obstructing police.
A spokesman for North Wales Police said: “Bricks and tiles were thrown from the roof of the property and damage was caused to roofs on cars below.
“Following negotations at 9.10pm the man made his own way off the roof.”
Mr Laidlaw was in police custody at Mold Police Station last night.
The spokeswoman added: “Police wish to thank the public for their patience during the incident.”
Dave Jones, shift worker at the nearby KFC restaurant, heard a commotion above that led to the premises being closed during the night.
“We heard there was a man on the roof throwing slates and bricks and that he had a knife.
“The staff at Domino’s Pizza were evacuated and there were about 15 police cars on the road. There was a crowd of about 300 people all standing and watching.”
Police were called to reports of a man being on the roof just after 4.30pm, with ambulance and fire crews also in attendance.
Station Road and surrounding streets were closed and cordoned off, with watching crowds watching asked to move further back as the operation intensified.
Residents and visitors who had parked in Station Road were unable to walk onto the street or collect their vehicles, while significant traffic backlogs were in place as police controlled the traffic flow.
The drama finally came to a conclusion shortly after 9.10pm, as the man was seen leaving the roof and emergency services began to leave the scene.
Brigette Duncan, 39, of neighbouring Belvedere Close, was one of many watching members of the public.
“It is extremely saddening that somebody feels they have to get into this position,” she said.
“I have heard he has been very depressed.”
Witnesses said they had heard Mr Laidlaw shout at police and make references to how he had food and warm clothes to help him stay on the roof. They added he had moved along the terraced roof and was often seen sitting on a chimney.
Shotton town councillor David Evans drove past at 5pm. “This youngish-looking man seemed to be enjoying the attention as police tried to talk to him down,” he said.
“He waved his machete at the police helicopter overhead.
“There was probably around a dozen police cars at the scene as well as an ambulance.”
After Mr Laidlaw came down off the roof, police cars were seen near his home. He had been due to appear at Mold Crown Court on February 15 on a breaching charge but did not turn up.
Last April he appeared at Flintshire Magistrates Court at Mold and admitted burglary at a house in Flint Road, Saltney Ferry, the previous month.
Cllr Christine Jones, whose Sealand ward includes Garden City, said: “This has created an extremely dangerous situation and I am saddened he felt he had to do this.”
Queensferry councillor David Wisinger added: “We will have to learn the full story but I hope it came to a satisfactory and safe conclusion.”
See full story in the Leader