Police mistake fringe jokers with water pistols,
for terrorists with guns
It was smiles all round as five comedy actresses toured busy streets wearing wigs, black PVC catsuits and carrying water pistols to promote their show. They thought they were hilarious as they shrieked jokes at pedestrians - and so did most of their fleeting "audience." But the officers in the police van tailing them were not amused.
The girls' car was pulled over and a grim-faced policeman told them to get out. They were then lined up on the pavement and given such a severe tongue-lashing that they had to cancel that night's show. The officer told them their four-inch long green water pistols were "threatening weapons" and they could be mistaken for terrorists. They told him this was Edinburgh and they were in a fringe show but that cut no ice, according to comedian Annalea Doyle, 29, from Coventry.
"He was really, really angry and wouldn't let us say anything," she said. "He was shouting and ranting for some reason. He kept saying we were going to spend a night in the cells which scared us to death. I was terrified. He said we had committed a breach of the peace and that a green four-inch water pistol was a 'threatening weapon'. If he hadn't been so angry it would have been hilarious." The girls, from the Abandon Theatre company, cancelled that night's performance at a pub in the Scottish capital.
Annalea and fellow actresses Karen Osenton, 25, from Banbury, Oxfordshire, Catherine Campbell, 29, from New Zealand, Lorraine Jennings, 25, from Chiswick, West London, and Emma Stroud, 29, Guildford, Surrey, decided they were too shaken. Abandon's theatre director Deon Newbronner, 36, said: "This policeman should be thoroughly ashamed of himself and he owes them an apology." A spokesman for Lothian and Borders police said the officer could have charged the girls with a breach of the peace but instead just issued "words of advice".
Source: Daily Mail, August 9, 2007
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