Urban Exploring Guidance

‘Urban Exploring’ or ‘Urbex’ and ‘Roof Topping’ are forms of trespassing onto private land and/or buildings, without the owner’s permission.

Often the activity is filmed, including by drones, and is promoted on social media. The risk-taking element is a part of the activity and intrinsic to the sub-culture. Urbex has recently included base-jumping from the top of tall buildings.

Reporting Urban Explorers 

To report, contact the police or fire service, and in the event of an emergency call 999.

If you are a CityCo or BID Member, you can discuss issues with the team. Email operations@cityco.com

Deterring Trespassers


  • Considering intalling railings around the top of buildings
  • Walls or fences around the top, or sides, of buildings need to comply with planning rules (permission is needed for the erection of a wall, fence or gate over 1m and permission is needed for he erection of a wall, fence or gate next to a highway used by vehicles or a footpath)


  • All signage to deter trespassers needs to be clear, legible and positioned in a location that can be seen and noticed

CCTV/Security Patrols

  • Install CCTV cameras or incorporate as part of the security patrol route around the roof top area
  • Ensure entry, exits points and Fire Exits are secure
  • Ensure out of hours security patrols

Brief Teams to be Alert 

  • Notice doors and fire exits: propped open? failed attempts to access?
  • Notice clothing: high vis, delivery drivers, emergency services, hard hats?
  • Notice unusual behaviour: odd phone enquiries, asking for suite addresses?
  • Notice activity around cranes: is the key in a secure place?

Manchester Partnership Agreement

CityCo and Business Crime Reduction Partnership (BCRP) work with Greater Manchester Police and Manchester City Council on the issue.

Manchester has defined exclusion criteria in place to deter individuals found on rooftops:

  • The exclusion definition is under ‘Reduction of Risk’/’Harm to self or others’
  • The exclusion is for Adults (18 and over) and is for 2 years
  • Offenders are being managed through the joint partnership to reduce the risk of repeat incidents
  • Offenders are required to commit to an ABC (Acceptable Behaviour Contract). Failure to comply may result in further sanctions being sought