A policeman’s leaving do sparked panic in a sleepy rural town when alarmed residents confused it – for a real MURDER SCENE.
The party was held at the Punchbowl pub in Spalding, Lincs., to celebrate the retirement of the town’s chief of police Stuart Brotherton.
Landlord Pete Williams, 59, decked out the front of the boozer with CSI-style police tape and chalk body outlines drawn on the pavement outside.
Pete even erected mock floral tributes for the non-existent murder victims and spread ketchup on the floor to recreate splatters of blood last Wednesday.
But the pub boss says he was shocked when he was suddenly inundated with phone calls from concerned members of the public convinced a major crime had taken place.
Pete received over 20 calls from worried locals believed a murder had occurred in their quaint market town.
Pete – who has ran the pub for the past 15 years – said: “I must have had 20 or so phone calls from people throughout the evening and they genuinely thought something had happened.
“I had loads of people calling just asking what was going on, and if it was anyone they knew.
“Also Facebook started going crazy with all sorts of rumours. People are not used to serious crimes around these parts.
“The amusing thing is that if any of them had tried to call 999 to find out what was going on they wouldn’t have got anyone because all the police were here.”
Pete said staff spent over £200 buying genuine police uniform to wear and decking the pub out with a crime-scene theme.
He added:”Stuart asked us just to do a hog roast and a leaving do and we just thought we could make a nice part for him and go that extra miles.
“We bought all the uniforms from a surplus store, and we even bought some special scanners so that every bank note used by the police would have to be checked for authenticity if then tried to buy anything.
“We put up the tape around the whole place and then members of staff lay down so we could draw outlines.
“We put some tomato sauce and squirted it around the chalk to make it look more real.
“The guy who runs the fish and chip shop next door went and got some flowers to put down.
“I suppose it showed that the hard work that we had put in for Stuart was worth it, and I think he really appreciated it.
“It was all worth it for a great send off for Stuart, who has been a really great local policeman for the last 30 years.”
Local resident Richard Thomson, 54, who passed by the pub last week said he got his wife to phone the landlord to find out what was going on.
He said: “I was going to my car and I got the shock of my life when I saw the windows all taped up and these chalk marks outside .
“I immediately told my wife and she called the pub to check that everyone was OK.
“We really thought there was something really bad happening there. They should have given people some warning.”
Another local added: “It gave me a right old shock – I didn’t find it that amusing.
“Its a serious part of their job visiting crime scenes and to have that as a theme for a party is in bad taste, I believe”
However, florist Marie Parker, 50, laughed off the incident and said: “I can’t see how anybody would think that was a real crime scene. I suppose at first glance it looks a bit out of place.
“People aren’t used to seeing real crime scenes around here so you can see how they confused it, I suppose.
“You get the odd grump who didn’t see the funny side – but everybody else found it hilarious.”