FOUR men travelled from the London area and climbed to the top of the Forth Bridge triggering a major rescue operation involving a police helicopter.

Trains continued to cross the bridge during the illegal climb, which brought a large number of police officers to the scene to make sure the thrill-seeking stunt did not end in tragedy.

At Dunfermline Sheriff Court, the four men admitted their guilt but asked for their convictions to be quashed to avoid hindering their careers.

That bid for absolute discharges was thrown out and they will return to court next month for sentencing.

In the dock were Tomer Brown, 23, of Hartley Close, London; Ryan McLoughlin, 22, of Hatherleigh Road, Ruislip; Peter Taylor, 23, of City Road, Islington; and 25-year-old Ricky Yuen, of Spring Close, Dagenham.

They all admitted that on July 30, at the Forth Bridge, they conducted themselves in a disorderly manner, climbed to the top of the south cantilever of the bridge then descended to track level and did so without permission or any safety permission and committed a breach of the peace.

The court was shown CCTV of the men clambering down the bridge as police officers shouted at them and a helicopter hovered above.

The four men are all keen and experienced climbers, the court was told.

Callum Harris, solicitor for Taylor, said his client had come to Scotland with his friends to celebrate his birthday.

It had been a “spur-of-the-moment decision to scale the bridge” and that “he accepts it was a foolish one and a dangerous one.”

He works at a Michelin-starred restaurant in London and was “concerned his career advancement will be hindered by this conviction”.

David McLaughlin, solicitor for Yuen, said his client was a civil engineer and was worried that “moments of madness” could affect his career.

He went on: “It was an extremely misguided decision. He’s an avid rock-climber and didn’t feel he was putting himself in harm’s way.”

Sheriff Francis Gill said absolute discharges “would be in no way appropriate” in the circumstances.

He called for reports and the four will return to court for sentencing on February 23. The sheriff also asked for the Crown to find out the cost of the emergency services operation that night.