INTERNET-loving youngsters are risking their lives by climbing onto the roofs of civic buildings. . . to access free wi-fi.

Police reports to community councils in Prestonpans and also Cockenzie and Port Seton have revealed that youths have been climbing onto the roofs of libraries and council offices to use the buildings’ mobile internet connections.

One community police officer revealed that when they were called to the scene of one incident after a member of the public thought lead was being stolen from a building, a common criminal activity, one smartphone-carrying youth being questioned asked: “What is lead?”

The officer said: “They are going up on the roofs to try and access the wi-fi in the buildings. They just sit up there.”

Incidents have been reported in Cockenzie and Port Seton at the library, as well as at Prestonpans’ Aldhammer House and the town’s library.

There have even been reports of youths trying to get online by climbing onto the roof of the former Royal Bank of Scotland building in Prestonpans, even though the branch has been closed.

Sgt Derek Macdonald, of Tranent Police Station, said: “We’re currently liaising with partners in the community and education around concerns over youths climbing on the roofs of buildings.

“I want to stress the potential life-changing, or even fatal, consequences of this and would urge parents to speak to their children about the risks of such behaviour.”

A report to the Communities and Police Partnership for Preston, Seton, Gosford said that concerns had been raised about youths trying to access free wifi from public buildings.

A spokesperson for East Lothian Council said the local authority was aware of the ongoing issues.

They said: “The council’s safer communities team works closely with Police Scotland on these matters and the possibility of introducing CCTV around Prestonpans Library is also currently being looked at.”