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A British free climber has dangled 390 metres (1,280ft) above Dubai without safety equipment after posing as a worker to gain access to the city’s tallest crane.

Adam Lockwood, 21, gained entry to a skyscraper, evading construction workers to reach the top, where he scaled the crane to cling from a metal bar with just one hand.

A video depicts his illicit journey to the top of the building at night, followed by shots of his body suspended above a glittering cityscape below, as he flips and moves around the crane’s structure.

Lockwood, from Manchester, said the experience had been “surreal” but also “almost peaceful”, as his “brain is blank” when he performs stunts – though he added he had “a few close calls” with his grip and footing.

“When I first looked at the footage, I was thinking to myself: ‘This is it, this is the most incredible thing I’ve done,” he said. “It’s something I know I can do and that 99% of the world can’t and never will do, so I feel obliged to use my ability and enjoy doing it in the process.”

The stunt was carried out at 5.45am on the crane on top of the 77-storey residential skyscraper Il Primo, directly next to the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa.

In his seven-minute YouTube video, mostly filmed using a GoPro, he shows his palms and splashes his hat with water to cool down in what he says was 45C heat.

He later said he only realised the crane had been covered in invisible grease after climbing it. “At first I thought it was dust from the desert but checking my hands it was grease, feet and hands slipping on everything I touched.”

After being initially shouted at by a site worker, he pretended to be a construction worker who had forgotten something. He changed stairwells eight times over two hours to evade other workers.

The video ends with him emerging on to the streets with a stunned expression, looking up at the towering skyscrapers. He said he “slept for the whole day” afterwards.

Lockwood has previously performed similar stunts. In April, he dangled from the 80-metre San Siro stadium in Milan, and later scaled the famous glass pyramid at the Louvre in Paris to take a selfie.