Man breaks obscure English laws, tried to get arrested

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Imagining England without a monarchy is against the law, but the only way you are likely to get arrested is if you keep bothering the police to tell them you are doing it.


“It’s also illegal to put squirrels down your pants for the purposes of gambling.”


In a small fishing village a fisherman was walking up the wharf carrying two live lobsters, at least three pounds each, one in each hand, three weeks after the season had closed.

Whom should he meet at the end of the wharf but the Fisheries Officer who, upon viewing the live and wriggling lobsters, says, “Well then, I got you this time - with two live lobsters three weeks after the season closed!”

The fisherman says, “No, you’re wrong mate. These are two trained lobsters.”
The Fisheries Officer says, “Trained lobsters?”

“Yep, each day I take these two from my house down to the wharf and put them in the water for a swim. While they swim I sit on the wharf and after about 15 minutes I whistle and up come my two lobsters, and I take them home!”

“Right…”, the Fisheries Officer says, “Lets take them on down the wharf and see if it’s true.”
The fisherman goes ahead of the Fisheries Officer to the end of the wharf where, under supervision, he gently lowers both lobsters into the water.

After about 15 minutes the Fisheries Officer says to the fisherman, “Are you going to whistle to call in your lobsters?”

The fisherman says, “What lobsters?”


Of course it is. Everyone should know that you are only supposed to put ferrets down your trousers (but only if you want to).


No one worries how the ferret feels about it.


My poor uncle is involved in a property right of way dispute with an asshole bully neighbor, and had to read through common law rulings starting from the twelfth goddamn century, which is why this guy can get away with doing this to all his neighbors. Whatever the warts of our legal system, we’re wildly superior to that.

See also, Brexit.


Oh, you’ll quickly find out. The ferret is not going to take any special effort to protect your feelings.


If the ferret is unhappy it will bite you with the intention of hurting you.

I have never taken part in ferret legging but I have known a few people who have pet ferrets.


I think this is high on the list of activities featured in the Top Ten Things To Instantly Regret Trying.


I recall reading the Potomac River, which flows through Washington DC, was once so crowded with salmon they passed a local ordinance forbidding employers from feeding their servants salmon more than three times a week. I also read the law is still on the books, but I have not researched this matter.


“handle salmon in suspicious circumstances”

Presumably that had something to do with either food counterfeiting (a big problem historically, in England, as it still is with fish just about everywhere), or illegal fishing? Perhaps hiding that one was selling old or poor quality fish? Or capturing salmon under illegal circumstances/poaching (no pun intended) or selling without proper license? I just can’t imagine it had anything to do with actual fish fondling, in any circumstances.

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Wriggly and furry, I guess; though also, sharpe of claw and tooth.

@Ratel I was talking to a UK Police Chief Inspector in his office one day. He indicated a wall full of encyclopedia sized tomes and said that was a small fraction of British Case Law (or whatever it is called). He then pulled out something the size of the Gideon Bible, and said that was the entire Canadian legal code.

@Shuck According to the article, that wording is from “The Salmon Act 1986”.


Obligatory Tom Scott video:

Another take on the silliest laws is in this book by Dan Kiernan:

He originally intended for this to be a quick, humorous romp through the silliness of the various un-repealed laws like we see in the other videos, but on his quest to tour the UK, breaking these laws, he found that the silliest ones on the book were the ones that the police actually take seriously, so the book gradually veers off into serious commentary on the pervasiveness of the surveilence state, politics and the state of the UK in the late 00s.


Juggling salmon by night in a ski mask.


Ah, I assumed the Salmon handling bit was of more ancient origin (given that they rather implied that), where it would be difficult to know what was meant by terms. But as a modern act, it has modern legal meaning, which actually, ironically, makes it more comprehensible, even if that meaning is different from the common usage: it’s unambiguously about selling possibly illegally caught fish.

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DC also still has an active law that makes it illegal to carry a concealed weapon more than 6 feet long.