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Southeastern warn of major disruption to services while the track is closedReuters

A suspected burglar has caused travel disruption for commuters in south east London after climbing up a tree over-hanging a railway line and refusing to come down.

Southeastern rail was forced to close the line during the morning rush hour, causing huge delays and cancellations to the service after the suspect hid up a tree near Charlton station. Police had chased the man following an early morning attempted burglary at a retail park.

There are still major disruptions to some services: the suspect remains up the tree, refusing to come down after more than 12 hours.

Officers from Metropolitan Police and British Transport Police (BTP) are at the scene attempting to persuade the man to come down.

A spokesperson for Southeastern said: "At 3.06am this morning we received a report of a person having climbed a tree at the side of the rail line between Charlton station and Charlton Lane crossing.

"The individual involved refused to move from the tree and police are currently on site dealing with the incident.

"Clearly while this person remains in the tree, which overhangs the line, it wouldn't be safe for us to run our trains in the area.

"We've also arranged for tickets to be accepted on alternative means of transport, including the Docklands Light Railway and local buses.

"We'll continue to do so until the police have been able to resolve the situation."

Southeastern recommends passengers check its website for the latest travel updates during the ongoing disruption.

A Metropolitan Police spokesperson added: "Police were called to reports of an attempted burglary at a commercial unit on the Stone Lake Retail Park, SE7, at 1.50am on August 13.

"On arrival, officers identified a suspect and began a pursuit which also involved the Metropolitan Police's Air Support Unit, during which the man was observed running close to rail lines.

"The suspect subsequently climbed a tree next to the rail lines off Barney Close."