TWO men who clambered up the bell tower of a church in Gourock and sparked a seven-hour stand-off with police could be electronically tagged in the new year.

Specialist negotiators were scrambled from Glasgow after David Arlow  and Samuel Arkley scaled 50ft of scaffolding at St John’s, pictured, and began an open air drinking session.

The pair ignored instructions to come back down and hurled foul-mouthed abuse and threats of violence whilst swigging alcohol at the baptist place of worship.

Prosecutor John Penman told Greenock Sheriff Court: “Perhaps it was one of those rare days in Inverclyde where the sun was shining.

“The accused, or at least one of them — Mr Arkley — was the worse for wear and the pair of them climb the scaffolding.”

Arlow, 36, and Arkley, 30, took over the bell tower at around 6pm on August 18 with the incident — involving paramedics, police and firefighters — not ending until after midnight.

The Telegraph told in August how the night took a bizarre turn when a group of Pokemon hunters turned up amid online chatter that a character from the augmented reality mobile phone game had been seen in the vicinity of the church.

As the players roamed Bath Street in pursuit of the elusive cartoon creature, Arlow continued to evade police by staying put near the summit of the tower.

Fiscal depute Mr Penman told the court: “All sorts of public were milling about below.

“To be fair to Mr Arkley, he heeds the advice of the police and descends.

“However, his co-accused continues in the same manner, shouting, swearing and uttering threats.

“Mr Arlow descends at 0035hrs, by which time three emergency services are in attendance.”

Arlow and Arkley admitted conducting themselves in a disorderly manner, climbing the scaffolding, openly consuming alcohol, repeatedly shouting, swearing and uttering threats of violence, refusing to desist and leave when requested by police and committing a breach of the peace.

Arkley was on bail regarding another criminal matter at the time.

The scaffolding had been erected around the steeple whilst work was being carried out to install a mobile phone mast.

Sheriff Iain Fleming deferred sentence for background reports and a restriction of liberty order (electronic tagging) assessment.
Arlow, of Argyle Street, and Arkley, of Banff Road, both Greenock, are due back in court on the matter on January 4.