A DRUNK plunged 30ft down a steep embankment in the middle of the night – and then tried to fight police who helped rescue him.
The hapless fall victim was stranded on a narrow ledge just feet from a fast-flowing river and started screaming for help.
Startled residents in Dalkeith, Midlothian, dialled 999 and up to 40 rescuers descended on the scene, including crews from four fire stations, along with police.
The 44-year-old man was said by ambulance staff to be hypothermic when rescuers finally got to him at the bank of the River Esk about 2.30am.
Rescuers hauled him to safety using ropes and a stretcher.
It is thought the man, who was “intoxicated”, had climbed over the fence of a neighbouring garden, not realising the deadly peril on the other side.
One resident, who asked not to be named, said: “I woke up and there must have been about 40 people in the garden.
“The guy jumped over the fence and right down the other side.
“It looked like he thought if he jumped he would just land on the other side, but it’s just a drop.”
She added: “He came up with no shirt on, so he must have lost that down there.
“When he came back up the police had a hold of him but he was lashing out trying to get away and punching them.
“A group of police had him but he was fighting them off. You can see where he has dragged our bench down to the fence and broken it. I don’t know what he was thinking.”
Fire crews from Dalkeith, Musselburgh, Tollcross and Newcraighall were in attendance and were able to rescue the man with line rescue. The man was put on a stretcher by the fire crew before they moved him to safety.
He was taken to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary at 4.30am, and treated for his injuries.
A spokesman from Police Scotland said: “We were alerted to noise, shouting and swearing from the man – who appeared to be trying to raise an alarm.
“After he was rescued the man became quite destructive and was involved in a scuffle with police.
“He was handcuffed and arrested for breach of the peace.
“The man was in an intoxicated state.”
A spokeswoman for the Scottish Ambulance Service added: “We received a call from the fire crew to attend the incident at the back of a residential property on High Street in Dalkeith.
“We were told that he was conscious and breathing and that there were no visible injuries. When the fire crew got to him at around 2.40am he was hypothermic.”