A man is in police custody for trespassing at Buckingham Palace yesterday morning, after he attempted to climb a fence.
According to police, the 22-year-old from Croydon was detained within ‘a security perimeter’ at 4:15am on Tuesday. Police said that the man had been drinking, but was unarmed and did not gain access to the Palace. The incident was not thought to be terrorism related.
Thankfully, no members of the Royal Family were in residence at the time: The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh are currently in Scotland, spending their annual summer holiday in Balmoral, while Prince Charles and Camilla are at Birkhall.
The identity of the man has not been revealed, and Buckingham Palace has not issued a comment on the matter.
There have been multiple security breaches at the Palace in the past, the most recent being in May, when convicted murderer Denis Hennessy scaled a palace wall, reportedly asking, “Is Ma’am in?”. He was later jailed for 4 months for trespassing and criminal damage – but the most worrying thing was that he was a convicted murderer, who killed a homeless man with an iron bar in 1993.
Hennessy walked around gardens of the main Royal residence for 10 minutes before being caught. However the Commander of the Metropolitan Police’s special protection unit said that the palace’s security measures had “worked effectively.” The Queen, Prince Philip and Prince Andrew were in residence at the time.
The most famous incident occurred in March 1982, when Michael Fagan managed to break in to the Palace. He claimed to have sat on “the throne” and to have viewed King George VI’s private stamp collection. He then moved to The Queen’s apartments where he sat on the end of Her Majesty’s bed for 10 minutes. The Queen managed to raise the alarm when he asked for a cigarette. The police did not charge Michael Fagan for trespassing into the Monarch’s personal apartments, because at the time, it was a civil offence.
However, after a comedian gatecrashed the 21st birthday party of Prince William at Windsor Castle in 2003, there were calls to make trespassing onto Royal or government property a criminal offence. In 2007 the ‘Serious Organised Crime and Police Act’ came into force, which made this illegal, including onto private Royal property like Sandringham.