A TEENAGER facing a mental health crisis, who caused chaos for travellers in Mid Wales, was coaxed down from a rail bridge by a brave police officer on a stepladder, a court heard.

Trains were held up and cancelled as the 18-year-old dangled his legs over the parapet of the bridge.

It was the third time police had been called to the railway line at Howey, near Llandrindod Wells.

The transgender man admitted the unusual charge of obstructing an engine or carriage using the railway, which dates back to the Malicious Damage Act of 1861.

He appeared by video link from a women’s prison, as he is still legally regarded as a woman, but used a man’s name in court as that is how he views himself and is undergoing gender reassignment.

Prosecutor Dean Pulling said: “Police were called a number of times on May 13 because the defendant was sitting on the bridge.

“A mental health crisis team arrived and she told them she wanted to kill herself.

“Network Rail stopped all trains while she was persuaded to come down.”

Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court heard on Friday (September 13) police were called back to the bridge later the same day when the man had climbed back up.

A police negotiator was called and he was taken into custody before being handed into the care of his worried family.

Mr Pulling said: “Two days later the defendant was seen sitting on the ledge of the same bridge with her legs dangling over the track.

“Trains were stopped and officers engaged with the defendant to keep her calm.”

The court heard PC Lucy Morris used a stepladder to encourage the distressed young man to leave the bridge safely.

Three trains were cancelled and four were delayed costing Network Rail a total of £2,280.

The young man has been on remand in prison ever since and has a fear of returning to live in the Llandrindod Wells area.

Judge Nicola Jones commended the bravery of PC Morris of Dyfed-Powys Police for getting the man to safety.

The judge told the defendant: “She placed herself in a position of peril using a stepladder to reach you.

“You engaged with her and she helped you off the bridge. She is to be commended for that.

“The police were incredibly sympathetic and did their utmost to help you.”

The teenager was given a community order with a 25 day rehabilitation requirement.

Judge Jones told him: You are an extremely troubled individual with a lot going on in your life.

“There needs to be rehabilitation - we want to stop you getting into this sort of mess again.”

  • If you are in need of help, or need someone to talk to you can contact Powys Samaritans on 116 123 free from any phone or on 01597 823000, where local call charges apply.
  • Advice and information can also be obtained from NHS Direct on 0845 4647, while CALL (Community Advice Listening Line) mental health helpline for Wales offers a confidential listening and support service, which is available anytime, on 0800 132737, or text 'help' to 81066.
  • Other services available include Mid Powys Mind, which runs a support group for anyone who identifies as LGBTQ+ and their family and friends, in Llandrindod Wells; while Mind runs a Mindline Trans+ helpline, for transgender people, their families and friends, which is available from 8pm to Midnight, on Mondays and Fridays, on 0300 330 5468.