Police Hunt Man Dressing as ‘Plague Doctor’ as Lockdown Fines Soar

A cosplay of a black plague doctor in a top hat.
Kuma Kum/Unsplash

UK police are on the hunt for a man who goes walking dressed as a 17th-century plague doctor, as official statistics reveal those fined for breaking lockdown measures to be more than 9,000, nearly triple the government’s earlier estimate.

The individual dons the black cloak, black hat, and beak-like mask whilst going for his government-allocated one walk a day and has been seen by locals in the Norwich suburb of Hellesdon in recent weeks.

While police admit that the person has committed no crimes, Norfolk Police has said that they want to “provide words of advice” to the walker, according to The Telegraph.

“Officers have been made aware of an individual who was seen walking around the Hellesdon area wearing a plague outfit,” Norfolk Police said.

A spokesman continued: “Although no offences have been committed at this time, officers are keen to trace the individual in order to provide words of advice about the implications of his actions on the local community.

“Should any further information come forward about any offences being committed, we will act accordingly.”

During the 17th-century, it was believed that the plague was passed through inhaling contaminated air and that the mask’s beak — stuffed with herbs, flowers, and perfumes — could purify the air and protect the wearer.

Norfolk Police’s threat to ‘have a word’ with a person going for a walk in a historic costume comes as official reports reveal more than 9,000 people in England and Wales had been fined for allegedly breaking the UK’s lockdown laws.

The National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) released the figures on Thursday, revealing that “8,877 Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) have been recorded by forces in England up to 27 April for breaches of government public health regulations. In Wales, 299 FPNs have been issued in the same timeframe.”

Just two days ago, Cabinet minister Michael Gove had said that 3,203 fines were handed out up to April 13th.

With enforced social distancing, restrictions on travel, and all but ‘essential’ shops open, police have been raiding businesses in breach of the measure.

South Yorkshire Police said on Thursday that it had served a prohibition order on a pub in Sheffield for being open. During the raid, police said they had “found a number of people hiding in cupboards”. The raid had occurred as a result of residents reporting on their own local landlord.

British police across the country have come under criticism for its heavy-handed approach to enforcing the lockdown, including pouring black dye into a lagoon to discourage people from swimming in it, using drones to scold dog walkers in the Peak District, and telling small shop owners to stop selling Easter eggs because they were not “essential”.

One force even boasted that it had fined people who went “out for a drive due to boredom” and fined “multiple people from the same household going to the shops for non-essential items”.

In one case, an officer from Lancashire Police threatened to “make something up” to arrest a motorist. The officer was later suspended from the force.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage said this month regarding the Coronavirus Police State: “I do not want to live under a house detention regime or for this country to be remoulded into a police state.”

“I fear… that the arbitrary powers now given to the police may remain in place for a long time to come. Why? Because I can envisage the argument being advanced by the police that many of their powers must be retained in case another pandemic strikes,” he warned.

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