Naked man mounts statue in central London

A naked man is in police custody after climbing atop an equestrian statue in the heart of Whitehall, London's government district.

Arrested by police after straddling 19th century statue of Duke of Cambridge for three hours

A naked man climbed atop a statue in London, England, Friday. The incident brought traffic to a standstill as police attempted to talk the man down from the Duke of Cambridge statue outside the Ministry of Defence building. (Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

A naked man clambered atop a large equestrian statue in the heart of London's Whitehall government district Friday, striking a variety of precarious poses before being coaxed down by police nearly three hours later.

London police said that the man, believed to be in his thirties or forties, first climbed atop the massive bronze statue of the 19th-century Duke of Cambridge around noon.

He climbed up and down the statue in the late autumn chill, at one point balancing himself on the duke's head.

The man eventually came down after police and emergency services cordoned off the area, which is home to several government buildings including the prime minister's official residence.

Scotland Yard said the man was detained under Britain's Mental Health Act.