Rollercoaster joyrider tried to start up Big Dipper

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Rollercoaster joyriding in the early hours has cost a teenage girl her freedom at nights.

Kayleigh Grist was among youngsters who scaled security fences and locked gates at Blackpool Pleasure Beach before getting into the control room of a rollercoaster and switching it on.

Grist and two teenage boys spent half-an-hour riding round on the Blue Flyer ride then broke into cafes at the funfair and threw food around.

The Blue Flyer is an 82-year-old ride previously known at the Zipper Dipper and Warburtons Milk Roll-A-Coaster. It has an initial drop from a height of 25 feet, two small drops and a tunnel.

Grist, 18, of Highfield Road, South Shore, pleaded guilty to burgling the T Cafe and Infusion Cafe at Blackpool Pleasure Beach with intent to steal.

She was sentenced to a 12 weeks electronically tagged curfew where she must be inside her home between 9pm and 6am, put on a 12 months community order with up to 25 days rehabilitation to be supervised by the probation service and ordered to pay £85 costs with £85 victims’ surcharge by Blackpool magistrates.

Prosecutor, Martine Connah, said a security officer saw two male youths in the Blackpool Pleasure Beach secure site and chased them on June 17 at 4.20am.

CCTV from the Blue Flyer ride in the park showed that at 3am Grist and the two youths operated that rollercoaster from its control cabin and went on the ride.

They had tried other rides include The Big Dipper, Infusion and the Nickleodeon Street ride, but could not either switch them on or override the security systems.

They had also gone into two cafes on the site and thrown ice cream, food and items about.

One of the youths had received a community resolution for the offence and the other had pleaded guilty and was awaiting sentence.

Michael Woosnam, defending, said when the two youths first said they were going into the Pleasure Beach Grist tried to persuade them not to telling them it was dangerous.

The youths returned from the site with coins they said they had taken from a fountain there in which people threw money which was to go to charity. Grist then climbed into the funfair with them.

Mr Woosnam said: “She says she did not go into the cabin where the power was switched on but she accepts she took one free ride on that rollercoaster.

“She initially felt she had done nothing wrong as she had not taken or damaged anything.”