ENGLISH Heritage has condemned the actions of a group of young men seen climbing over the ruins of Waverley Abbey last week.

The men were spotted scaling the walls of the 12th century Cistercian monastery at around 8pm on Wednesday, July 12, despite clear signage requesting people to respect the ruins.

Onlooker Anne Cooper observed: “They did not appear to be wantonly destructive, but were enjoying themselves up there drinking and smoking. They seemed to want to climb the walls as high as possible and were obviously putting themselves in danger and the ancient monument.”

Responding, a spokesman for English Heritage said: “Waverley Abbey is both an important local and national landmark, in a beautiful and - normally - tranquil location.

“We are very concerned that not everyone treats the abbey with the respect it deserves, spoiling visitors’ enjoyment of it and possibly damaging the abbey itself.

“We are working closely with the police to tackle this problem. Although the abbey is one of our unmanned sites, we - along with the police - are making regular visits.

“We have clear signage warning people that monuments can be hazardous and that climbing is not permitted.”