Emergency services blocked off a busy city centre street after a man said to be high on drugs fell from the roof of a house and ran away from police.
Tourists in the Grassmarket looked on in shock as the man – said to have fallen from a property in Brown’s Place into a garage behind the Apex International Hotel – ran across the street covered in blood.
Six fire engines and several police cars, which were initially scrambled to rescue him from the roof.
The man – who is understood to have been under the influence of drugs – was wrestled to the ground outside the Beehive Inn by police after a pub customer performed an alleged citizen’s arrest.
Drinkers in the pub’s outside seating area looked on in disbelief as paramedics strapped him to a stretcher and took him to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. Onlookers reported that he was shouting “help, help” and “they’re trying to kill me” as police tried to calm him down.
The Vennel Steps, which lead up to George Heriot’s school via Brown’s Place, were cordoned off by the fire service as the incident unfolded.
One tourist said they saw the man expose himself to police shortly before he was tackled to the ground.
And another eyewitness said that the man had been trying to climb a building behind Heriot’s school, and described him as being “white as a sheet” as he ran across the Grassmarket towards the Beehive Inn.
Neighbouring residents are understood to have raised the alarm amid concerns that the man was going to jump from the roof.
As the street returned to calm after the mid-afternoon chaos, police officers could be seen at the top of the Vennel Steps.
Tourists and locals in the Grassmarket spoke of their shock at the incident,
Jack Maguire, who works in a Grassmarket pub, said: “The entire junction at West Port was blocked off. There was a traffic jam all the way up.
“A man had ran out of one of the closes, He had blood on him. He’d just got outside the Beehive. There were fire engines, a major incident unit and an ambulance. They all came very quickly.”
Matthew Upson, 38, who had been drinking outside at the Beehive Inn, said he understood that a fellow customer had performed a citizen’s arrest on the man before the police took hold of him.
He said: “The guy had blood on him, and the police then went over and took an interview from him. I’m not quite sure what happened. The whole street was blocked off.”
The drama threatened to hamper the Grassmarket’s Neighbour’s Day events, which included an outdoor community fair and a bouncy castle for children. A council street sweeper was drafted in to clean blood from the pavement shortly after the ambulance left at around 2.30pm.
A police spokeswoman said: “Police responded to a report of concerns for a man on the roof of a building in the Grassmarket. He was not detained.”