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Geocaching Shuts Down British Town

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the everyone-panic dept.

United Kingdom 282

DaveAtWorkAnnoyingly writes "Many geocachers will be thinking twice when planting their treasure in an urban space as one geocacher found out in England after the police cordoned off the center of a small West Yorkshire town and the Bomb Squad was called in. From the article: 'It was a normal busy Friday morning in the small West Yorkshire market town of Wetherby when someone working in a café spotted a man acting a bit suspiciously on the street. He appeared to have a small plastic box in his hand and after fiddling with the container he bent down and hid it under a flower box standing on the pavement. He then walked off, talking to somebody on his phone.'"

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282 comments

Honestly... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36679828)

People need to lighten up. This is getting out of hand.

Re:Honestly... (2)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | more than 2 years ago | (#36679880)

Honestly... considering the number of "caches" everywhere and in London [geocaching.com], I'm surprised that problem doesn't happen more often.

Re:Honestly... (2)

symes (835608) | more than 2 years ago | (#36680202)

Sleepy English towns and villages can be like this, more so in Scotland and Wales - it's not just people with plastic boxes that raise eyebrows. Just not being local can be enough. On a recent excursion I became centre of attention in the local pub for no other reason than it was my first time there. American Warewolf in London? It is all true (except for the warewolf bit).

Re:Honestly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36680214)

I remember moving to Berwick upon Tweed a few years ago. Most were decent enough people but a few have some *real* hangups about 'dem city fowlk'

Re:Honestly... (1)

gomiam (587421) | more than 2 years ago | (#36680294)

Yes, they have already seen American werewolves. Warevolves are something new :P

Re:Honestly... (5, Funny)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | more than 2 years ago | (#36680456)

Yes, they have already seen American werewolves. Warevolves are something new :P

The dreaded Tupper Warewolf is the worst. In spite of what they think, these beasts do not know how to party...
They can however keep food miraculously fresh for days!

Re:Honestly... (5, Insightful)

DrXym (126579) | more than 2 years ago | (#36680476)

Sleepy English towns and villages can be like this, more so in Scotland and Wales

The UK is no stranger to bombing campaigns from the IRA, muslim extremists and even the odd loony. It is highly predictable that if you bury a suspicious package in a high street someone is going to ring the police. Not everyone is aware of some esoteric nerd pasttime that involves such acts.

If you really must bury something somewhere like that, go get a policeman you doing it, preferably with a sheet of paper that explains its legalities. Better yet, don't do it in the middle of a high street and find somewhere more rural to do it.

Re:Honestly... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36680594)

The fact that this happened only days before the anniversary of the 7/7 bombings in London can't have helped...

Muggles (4, Insightful)

daitengu (172781) | more than 2 years ago | (#36679882)

Often times caches specifically state "DO NOT SEARCH IN VIEW OF MUGGLES". "Muggles" being those unfamiliar with geocaching. This is a perfect reason why to heed those words.

no, honestly, this is dumb. the terrorists have won.

Re:Muggles (2, Insightful)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 2 years ago | (#36679902)

Seriously. I mean when did it become illegal to do what that guy did? Back off stazi, and get your hairy palms off our fun.

Re:Muggles (5, Insightful)

mabinogi (74033) | more than 2 years ago | (#36679952)

It didn't, and the police even said they have no real problem with it, but would appreciate being told about caches in urban areas so as to avoid this sort of misunderstanding in the future.

Re:Muggles (5, Funny)

Don_dumb (927108) | more than 2 years ago | (#36679956)

It didn't, and the police even said they have no real problem with it, but would appreciate being told about caches in urban areas so as to avoid this sort of misunderstanding in the future.

It didn't, and the police even said they have no real problem with it, but would appreciate being told about caches in urban areas so as to avoid this sort of misunderstanding in the future.

Either that or they just want to cheat

Re:Muggles (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36679964)

So all I need to do is tell the cops there is a cache somewhere and they'll ignore my bomb?

Sweet.

Re:Muggles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36680290)

no need to tell them, there is a public database with all geocaches online: geocaching.com
Maybe tell them for mystery caches and finals. That would be the cache owner's responsibility.

Re:Muggles (1)

Urkki (668283) | more than 2 years ago | (#36680604)

More like, they'll silently wiretap you and check out your history.

So, if you have something to hide, you shouldn't do geocaching. But, if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about!

Re:Muggles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36680100)

I don't need or want the state acting as my parents.. gtfo...

Re:Muggles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36680654)

And yet the person to find the cache was given a caution... so they obviously mind.

Re:Muggles (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36679934)

The terrorists always win. The thing people don't seem to really understand is who the terrorists are.

Re:Muggles (2)

Noughmad (1044096) | more than 2 years ago | (#36680024)

The terrorists always win. The thing people don't seem to really understand is who the terrorists are.

Lawyers?

Re:Muggles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36680550)

The terrorists always win. The thing people don't seem to really understand is who the terrorists are.

Some of the winners?

Re:Muggles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36680138)

The Ts always win, the AK47 is overpowered...

Re:Muggles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36680390)

Very few AK-47s were made and fewer survive. Most of what you see in photos are AKMs or, rarely, AK-74s.

Re:Muggles (1)

Relic of the Future (118669) | more than 2 years ago | (#36679996)

Or to boycott urban caches that are in full freakin view of an entire market district. Seriously cache hiders, in sight of Starbucks is not a good place.

Re:Muggles (2)

UtsuMaster (874626) | more than 2 years ago | (#36680416)

I'm not defending paranoia, but if I were planting a cache in a crowded place, and receiving suspicious looks, and was still determined to put it there... what would be the problem of chatting up someone nearby (like a vendor that sticks around), showing how it works, asking where he thinks would be a good spot (just to engage, no need to actually listen :).

At worst it would be someone uninterested, but capable of clearing this kind of misunderstanding before panic mode. At best its someone that thinks its cool and joins in afterwards.

Seriously, I'm not a "people person" at all but this is just common sense.

Re:Muggles (1)

sco08y (615665) | more than 2 years ago | (#36680044)

no, honestly, this is dumb. the terrorists have won.

You know, "if xxx then the terrorists have won" was idiotic back in 2001 and rightly parodied. Why on earth do people intone it as though it's a great profundity now?

Re:Muggles (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36680206)

It was also said that "the terrorists want to take away our freedoms".

If that's what they wanted, they really have won.

Re:Muggles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36680122)

Yes, the totalitarian fascists called "our government" definitely have won.
The battle.
The war has just begun. (Disclaimer: I'm at the front. For the people, by the people.)

No idea about some admittedly a bit crazy scapegoats from the middle east though.

Re:Muggles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36680284)

> Disclaimer: I'm at the front.
No, you're not. You're on Slashdot, preaching.

Re:Muggles (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 2 years ago | (#36680562)

> Disclaimer: I'm at the front.
No, you're not. You're on Slashdot, preaching.

To the choir, even. Go out and convince some people on national TV!

Re:Muggles (1)

Askmum (1038780) | more than 2 years ago | (#36680312)

no, honestly, this is dumb. the terrorists have won.

So true. Fear rules the world. Common sense is now halfway to Proxima Centauri, waiting for Voyager to catch up. Wish I was there too.

Re:Muggles (1)

mcavic (2007672) | more than 2 years ago | (#36680392)

no, honestly, this is dumb. the terrorists have won.

Actually, if anything, this is why the terrorists aren't winning. Sad, yes, but welcome to the 21st century.

Re:Muggles (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36680398)

no, honestly, this is dumb. the terrorists have won.

I think it was a legitimate concern.

All it takes is one situation where "Oh hey, that box isn't dangerous at all" and the box exploding that people (even in slashdot) will scream and shout that the police haven't been doing all they need to in order to keep us safe. Would YOU just shrug it off if you heard about the police ignoring a box and hearing it exploded?

A search in google says someone was killed by a bomb the size of a lunchbox [independent.co.uk] so it's possible that a tiny box could, in fact, hold a deadly bomb. Stuff it full of nails and bam, dozens injured if not killed from shrapnel.

It's wonderful we can laugh this off as security theater (and I agree the TSA is fucking ridiculous now), but it just may be better to search 100 times and find that 99 were wrong then to search 0 times and miss the 1. Ideally they would either search once exactly for the one bomb or stop them before they put their bomb out in the first place, but this is the closest we can get at the moment.

Now, if you're the kind of dude that wouldn't be worried about how potentially dangerous an unattended mystery box is, why not take this usb stick found in a parking lot and stick it in your computer? [slashdot.org] Too afraid? Well then the terrorists have won.

(Yes, I get that most of us aren't stupid enough to have autorun on in the first place, but you get my meaning I hope)

Re:Muggles (3, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#36680680)

It's also worth noting that the IRA actually did place bombs like this in rubbish bins in London and other places through the '90s. It's not like this is some kind of hypothetical terrorist movie plot, this is a modus operandi that real terrorists have used.

Re:Muggles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36680704)

All it takes is one situation where "Oh hey, that box isn't dangerous at all" and the box exploding that people (even in slashdot) will scream and shout that the police haven't been doing all they need to in order to keep us safe. Would YOU just shrug it off if you heard about the police ignoring a box and hearing it exploded?

Yes.

Re:Muggles (3, Insightful)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 2 years ago | (#36680520)

This is not dumb. Most people know nothing about geocaching. Someone looks furtively around and hides something plastic then scuttles off. You don't have to be in a sleepy town to call the police on this, it should be happening in large cities too.

Re:Muggles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36680528)

no, honestly, this is dumb. the terrorists have won.

We live in a country where terrorists have placed bombs in waste bins outside MacDonalds, and exploded the bombs midday on a Saturday. An 11yo child was killed, taking (IIRC) a week to die.

Search for IRA Warrington

Re:Muggles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36680730)

The terrorists and the fucking Harry Potter.

It's all about goals (4, Insightful)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 2 years ago | (#36679896)

Isn't this the very goal of terrorism? To disrupt our daily activities with irrational fear?

Re:It's all about goals (4, Insightful)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 2 years ago | (#36679906)

I think those in power view it as a positive side effect. ;)

Re:It's all about goals (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36680380)

No, he meant that the government are the ones doing the terrorism by rushing the cops in, fearmongering and intimidating. No that geocaching guy.

Re:It's all about goals (4, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#36680558)

It seems to me terrorists used to have some more ulterior goals (ransom, release of prisoners, independence, publicity) not just invoke fear. That is why up to 9/11 they expected hijackers to land and make their demands, not just ram them into buildings. This whole "it'll cost us a million to do and a billion for you do defend against" seems more like a style of guerrilla or economic warfare, trying to make the US crumble under its own weight like the Soviet Union did.

I mean, it doesn't seem to me that al-Qaeda has much they'd really like to talk about, we're infidels and for the most part they'd just like us to die or throw ourselves to the ground and beg for Allah's mercy or something like that. It's not exactly like videos of them slitting captured people's throats are meant to bring us to the negotiation table. And the more they seem like homicidal maniacs, the less I feel like leaving that cancer to spread.

Stupidity = Enemy of the state. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36679962)

Stupidity. That's the only thing to blame here.
Utterly retarded extreme drooling idiocy.

Guys, there's so much awesome stuff in the UK. Why do you let it degenerate into an Idiocracy? You don't have to, you know? It's your choice.
That study that showed that today, people score only an IQ of 70 at a test from the 70s, sounds waaay to me right now.

Save your country! It's awesome! (At least it was, and can become again.)
Make the right choice. Now.

Idiot cafe worker (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36679966)

Really? A bomb... that's a danger to people on the street... yet small enough to fit in the palm of one's hand? Is shrapnel really considered a terrorist threat nowadays? Or did he think its antimatter explosion would eradicate the entire city block?

Re:Idiot cafe worker (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#36680004)

Really? A bomb... that's a danger to people on the street... yet small enough to fit in the palm of one's hand?

A charge probably twice the one that fits on one palm can penetrate 650 mm of armor [ribbands.co.uk]

Re:Idiot cafe worker (2)

meerling (1487879) | more than 2 years ago | (#36680314)

Yeah, but that's a shape charge. You don't use those to try and kill people, and the explosive really needs to be in contact (or so bloody close it doesn't matter) to get those kinds of effects. Only a moron tries to kill people with a shaped charge.
Now there are cases where people tried to do assassinations with shape charges, but they were used to propel a metal plate at a car, so it's like a big shotgun effect with spalling. Although that sucker was crammed in a mailbox, and the car was probably no more than 10 feet away if I remember right.

Re:Idiot cafe worker (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#36680368)

Should I understand that you agree with the OP when saying: "Being afraid of what can fit into a palm is idiotic"?

Re:Idiot cafe worker (5, Insightful)

Minwee (522556) | more than 2 years ago | (#36680050)

Really? A bomb... that's a danger to people on the street... yet small enough to fit in the palm of one's hand? Is shrapnel really considered a terrorist threat nowadays?

They're called "Hand Grenades" for a reason, you know. It's because they can fit in the palm of one's hand. And they have a long history of being a danger to people.

Or did he think its antimatter explosion would eradicate the entire city block?

No, but he probably thought that a modern anti-personnel grenade was capable of throwing fragments over two hundred meters away. That makes for an area about _five_ city blocks long that could get quite uncomfortable for passers-by, with a "what's left of you will wish you were dead" zone about a third of a city block across at the centre. The real thing is nothing at all like Counter-Strike.

But, you know what? You're right. I'm just being silly. After all, nobody ever sets off bombs in England [bbc.co.uk], so I'm sure there's no reason for anyone to worry about anything. Ever.

Re:Idiot cafe worker (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36680216)

Fragmentation grenades aren't nearly as lethal as you implicate. 200 meters is not an effective radius, it's an extreme radius, under ideal conditions (no obstructions, like TFS's container, etc). It might kill 1 or 2 people in the immediate proximity and injure/maim a handful of others. Hardly a concern-worthy threat.

A military-tech grenade also likely wouldn't fit "in a small plastic box in his hand" (max est. height: 2in).

Re:Idiot cafe worker (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36680280)

So, killing 1 or 2 people and maybe maining a handful isn't concern-worthy.

How many people does it take before one should get concerned? 100? 1000?

Not the first time (3, Informative)

Pesticidal (1148911) | more than 2 years ago | (#36679970)

Bomb scare! [gps.org.nz]
I'm sure there are dozens of other instances of this happening around the world since the whole geocaching thing started.

At least police were nice about it. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36680054)

FTA:

He also questions putting caches in urban areas.

"If you feel as though you have to do that, then perhaps contact the police, let us know where it is, give us a description and perhaps a picture and a contact number would be very useful."

Had this been the US, anyone still considering this would probably just be arrested for supporting terrorism.

Re:At least police were nice about it. (3, Insightful)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 2 years ago | (#36680376)

"If you feel as though you have to do that, then perhaps contact the police, let us know where it is, give us a description and perhaps a picture and a contact number would be very useful."

That's ridiculous, this isn't the 60s anymore. The police should just zoom in the CCTV footage and x-ray the box through Photoshop, then use face recognition to contact the would be geocacher's mobile phone directly and leave a message confirming that the paperwork is being filed electronically already.

Re:At least police were nice about it. (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 2 years ago | (#36680552)

"Hello, yes, ummm... this is Moham.... ummm... Colin... and i'd like to register my bo... umm... geocaching package.

"Describe it? ummm... it kind of looks like 3 cylinders of plastic with some wires, a battery, and a clock

"That's right. And i'm planning on storing it in a flower pot at No. 9 Downing St. No, no not at No. 10.

"No that's all. Thank you. Praise Allah.

Flower petal shrapnel? (2)

RJFerret (1279530) | more than 2 years ago | (#36680074)

This used to happen a bunch, until the public became familiar with geocaching, and years ago geocaching guidelines changed to encourage clear plastic containers rather than the more robust menacing ammo cans that were favored initially (far more weather tight).

Ironically, letterboxing is an activity that has been popular across the pond for decades, and involves the exact same process of hiding a container somewhere publicly accessible.

But, you still will get over zealous officials who want to play with their toys and blow tupperware up, rather than look at the note on the container, or, you know, investigate.

Link to the archived geocache listing [geocaching.com] (for which you need an account to view)

Particularly troubling is this quote from the cache owner referring to the finder, "When I asked as to his fate, the policeman said it would be wrong to tell me what had happened to him but that he had been dealt with without going to court, but it would likely affect his future career. Read into that what you will."

I could see considering arresting the woman who called emergency services over nothing, then releasing her give her honest mistake. But doing more than questioning the finder and placer? Preposterous.

Re:Flower petal shrapnel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36680446)

doing more than questioning the finder and placer? Preposterous.

Authority loves to flaunt its power over the people; because they can.

Re:Flower petal shrapnel? (2)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 2 years ago | (#36680548)

Since when has the public become familiar with geocaching? Of course they should check out the place, it could be a bomb, it could have been a drug drop, it most certainly did not look like something plain and ordinary. There have been small bombs planted in England in the recent past so it is not irrational to assume it will happen again.

The actions of the guy hiding a suspicious object are about as foolish as someone playing 'assassin' on the streets. Should the police assume that every suspicious action is just a college prank?

Re:Flower petal shrapnel? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#36680716)

Ironically, letterboxing is an activity that has been popular across the pond for decades, and involves the exact same process of hiding a container somewhere publicly accessible.

Letterboxing is common on places like dartmoor, where you can hide things under large stones a long way away from people. Hiding one across the road from Starbucks seems pretty unlikely.

Oh, and letterboxing generally requires a bit more of a brain. Each one contains a clue to find another, you don't just walk to the coordinates that a GPS tells you to and congratulate yourself on your ability to do what a machine tells you.

Inconsistencies - a conspiracy? (1)

miasmic (669645) | more than 2 years ago | (#36680092)

He appeared to have a small plastic box in his hand and after fiddling with the container he bent down and hid it under a flower box standing on the pavement. He then walked off, talking to somebody on his phone.'"

So was the small plastic box in his hand the phone he was talking on, or did he 'appear' to have something in both hands?

How would he have fiddled with the box with both hands full? Or was he fiddling with the phone? He must have fiddled with the phone in order to fiddle with the box, as if he wasn't talking on the phone when fiddling with the box he would have to fiddle with the phone afterwards in order to dial a call. Which would call into question the recorded sequence of events. It would only seem likely that he hid the box, then placed a call, and walked off while the call was going through.

The most likely hypothesis however is that the deed was carried out by a three armed perpetrator, holding the box in one hand, talking on the phone with the other, and using his extraneous appendage to "fiddle with the box".

Obviously a sign of an alien borne geocaching mind control conspiracy, the clued-in CIA and NSA providing a stand in human fall guy should it draw attention from the local bobbies.

Off topic, but .. (1)

kaka.mala.vachva (1164605) | more than 2 years ago | (#36680126)

wow, I didn't know about geo-caching. And now that I know, I don't see myself participating, ever! This doesn't even have to do with fear of terrorism - picking up a box with unknown contents, packed by a stranger - why do people do it?

Re:Off topic, but .. (2)

moronoxyd (1000371) | more than 2 years ago | (#36680298)

When you found the container, you take out a memento the last person placed there and put another one there yourself. Some (all?) caches also seem to contain a sheet of paper with a list of the geocachers who have been to this cache, where you would add your name and the date.

Disclaimer: I'm not a geocacher, but I know a few.

Experts agree: EVERYTHING IS NOT FINE! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36680136)

You should be afraid of everything!

German police quite relaxed - a true story (4, Interesting)

Lord Azrael (472884) | more than 2 years ago | (#36680146)

On my daily walks with the dog i one day spotted something in a silver box near the path and found it was a small aluminium box. I personally did not think that it could be related to geocaching at all and called the local polica station and asked them what to do, as in this case it was me who was afraid to touch or open it because i thought this is a bomb ... Well, one of the first things this police officer said was

"i bet this is one of those geocaching boxes, that is not uncommon these days"
So i asked him: "shall i really open it"
officer: "yes, open it"
"and what if it is a bomb and i blow up?"
officer: "then i will keep my ears shut!" :-)

of course there was nothing interesting in this box and no bomb at all. but i really had to laugh about this quite cool and funny officer

Re:German police quite relaxed - a true story (1)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 2 years ago | (#36680240)

Why would you think that a small box you find is a bomb? No, seriously - why the fuck would you think that?

Re:German police quite relaxed - a true story (1)

Lord Azrael (472884) | more than 2 years ago | (#36680396)

in this moment thats simply what i thought, yeah, totally exaggerated, you're right. but thats what was in my mind at that moment. after all, there are enough idiots around in this world... Maybe i should stop reading the news

Re:German police quite relaxed - a true story (4, Informative)

AGMW (594303) | more than 2 years ago | (#36680464)

Why would you think that a small box you find is a bomb? No, seriously - why the fuck would you think that?

UK People of a certain age look upon any strange object as a possible threat because of years and years of the IRA (and more latterly the RIRA) leaving bombs in rubbish bins (AKA "trash cans) and the like. Hell, they even left pipe bombs near schools [guardian.co.uk] and a pipe bomb could easily be a geocache!! Let's not forget that the US, through NORAID [wikipedia.org], funded these people too. War On Terror ... yer, now people are blowing the US up!

It's been a while in mainland Britain, but the memories of pubs being blown up in London, shopping centres around the country ... any soft target where people would otherwise just be going about their daily lives, well, it leaves an indelible mark. Maybe the kids can grow up differently now as the current crop of terrorists seem only keen on the big grandstanding attacks, and of course the IRA (& RIRA) never had anyone even nearly stupid enough to consider being a suicide bomber, though many blew themselves up by mistake.

Anyway, just don't leave any unattended bags or stuff when travelling around the UK ... and now you know why!

Re:German police quite relaxed - a true story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36680698)

No, people of a certain mind set think like that.

Having grown up in Northern Ireland and England and having lived through bombs and bomb scares I don't look at 'packages' as suspicious. People who believe what they read in the Daily Fail might though...

Re:German police quite relaxed - a true story (1)

Pieroxy (222434) | more than 2 years ago | (#36680478)

Dude, are you for real?

You really don't understand how an idea can get into someone's mind? Did you live in a cave all these years?

Re:German police quite relaxed - a true story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36680304)

A German police officer with a sense of humor. These are indeed days of wonder.

Re:German police quite relaxed - a true story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36680556)

People like you are a huge part of the whole fear-problem, seeing terrorists and bombs everywhere. "Oh no, a piece of abandoned trash! Gotta be a bomb by those dirty terrorists! They are everyhwere! Dozens dead in Germany every day!".

Re:German police quite relaxed - a true story (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 2 years ago | (#36680576)

It's official. The German police is cool. I admit I have rather limited experience with them, but what little I have is all positive. Very helpful, friendly, and even with a subtle hint of humor.

Better arrest that easter bunny ... (1)

MacTO (1161105) | more than 2 years ago | (#36680210)

... after all, she goes around hiding strange packages every year.

While some disgust was expressed over a local ad campaign called, "report the suspicious, not the strange", it is essentially correct: we should be reporting suspicious activities, but there is a definite role for discretion.

Sometimes you can even ask the person what they're doing and discover, "hey, this geocaching thing is cool."

Re:Better arrest that easter bunny ... (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 2 years ago | (#36680574)

This fits the definition of suspicious activity. The guy was obviously hiding something hoping not to be seen and then he hurried off.

Re:Better arrest that easter bunny ... (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 2 years ago | (#36680578)

... after all, she goes around hiding strange packages every year.

And if there's one thing that Angry Birds:Seasons taught me, it's that eggs can do quite a bit of damage if they hit the right spot.

Flower box? (2)

physicsphairy (720718) | more than 2 years ago | (#36680222)

He appeared to have a small plastic box in his hand and after fiddling with the container he bent down and hid it under a flower box standing on the pavement. He then walked off, talking to somebody on his phone.'"

Why attack a flower box? I had heard the terrorists wanted to take us back to the Dark Ages, but, in this case, the assumption appears to be that they are trying to take us all the way back to the Triassic, before the dawn of angiosperms.

Re:Flower box? (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 2 years ago | (#36680592)

He appeared to have a small plastic box in his hand and after fiddling with the container he bent down and hid it under a flower box standing on the pavement. He then walked off, talking to somebody on his phone.'"

Why attack a flower box? I had heard the terrorists wanted to take us back to the Dark Ages, but, in this case, the assumption appears to be that they are trying to take us all the way back to the Triassic, before the dawn of angiosperms.

That's nothing. Some guys blew up bicycle recently. There was a heap of collateral damage too. They must really hate bicycles.

Flower box? (1)

physicsphairy (720718) | more than 2 years ago | (#36680228)

He appeared to have a small plastic box in his hand and after fiddling with the container he bent down and hid it under a flower box standing on the pavement. He then walked off, talking to somebody on his phone.

Why attack a flower box? I had heard the terrorists wanted to take us back to the Dark Ages, but, in this case, the assumption appears to be that they are trying to take us all the way back to the Triassic, before the dawn of angiosperms.

Re:Flower box? (1)

AGMW (594303) | more than 2 years ago | (#36680526)

Why attack a flower box?....

We had the IRA blowing up rubbish bins (AKA trash cans) on the street which is why there are still so few of them around (not that they blew them all up you understand, they were removed because they were an easy place to drop a bomb!).

I refer you, if I may, to my previous post here [slashdot.org].

Remember Warrington (5, Informative)

fremsley471 (792813) | more than 2 years ago | (#36680258)

This is not an over-reaction. Here in the UK, terrorism on such a scale used to happen pretty regularly- for example, see the children killed in the second attack here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warrington_bomb_attacks [wikipedia.org]. Political agreement in Northern Ireland mostly halted the war, but one positive thing that came out of September 11th was the extinguishing of monies and good-will from the US for any sort of terrorism.

Re:Remember Warrington (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36680364)

It used to be common but even when it was we never used to freak out like people do now. Unless a suspicious package was left at a prime target like Euston station people didn't feel the need to react like that. Having been in said station when it was evacuated for just that very reason the reaction was for people to calmly make there way out the station. Now people would probably run screaming for the exit.

Why the difference? The government needed to keep a sense off sturdy resilence because there was an actual threat. Sensible and observent was what they needed people to be. Now the threat is mostly manufactured for political purposes. What is required is for the people to be afraid and obedient so the government can act as they will without challenge.

Re:Remember Warrington (3, Interesting)

fremsley471 (792813) | more than 2 years ago | (#36680444)

I was in a pub in central London one autumn Saturday afternoon in 1992. Police hassled us to leave quickly, i.e. "freaking out", and I remember thinking, "Hey, what's the fuss?" The next week, a bomb left in the same pub killed one (barman) and injured 4 others. Also what's changed is that coded warnings and the expectation of a reductions in casualties are now not expected.

Totally agreed however, that most security theatre is useless and serves mainly as a way for the ruling classes to completely isolate themselves from the rest of us (literally) poor buggers. But don't hide things under litter bins then expect people to have short memories.

Re:Remember Warrington (2)

AGMW (594303) | more than 2 years ago | (#36680560)

If I had mod points I'd mod you up ... even posted as an AC! People were calm and stoical about it in that almost comical 'British stiff upper lip' sort of way, whereas now we massively over react. I think back then we collectively decided that just getting on with it was our way of fighting back in some small way, whereas now we think the Government should protect us! On the back of that, we've had our freedoms curtailed and the Gov has more power over us now than it ever had before. They use Terrorism as the bogeyman to scare us into submission ...

I preferred the old way!

Re:Remember Warrington (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 2 years ago | (#36680640)

If you compare and contrast the 7/7 or 21/7 bombings to how Americans reacted to 9/11, I think we were very calm, stiff upper lip Brits who got on with clearing up the mess.

Wrong headline (1)

mseeger (40923) | more than 2 years ago | (#36680266)

The headline should be "Terror paranoia shuts down british town", geocaching was only involved by random chance. If you write about it, name the real culprit.

Why a police caution ? (2)

Alain Williams (2972) | more than 2 years ago | (#36680318)

Why was he given a police caution ? He did nothing illegal, nothing that police had previously been asked to be told about, so why a caution ? Yes what he did accidentally caused some disruption; but this was not intended.

Re:Why a police caution ? (2)

DrXym (126579) | more than 2 years ago | (#36680584)

They could have charged him for breach of the peace on the basis that his actions were reckless and could have caused fear and alarm.

Re:Why a police caution ? (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 2 years ago | (#36680596)

They cautioned him to use common sense. It is only common sense to want to have others use common sense. Common sense says to warn the police when you start surreptitiously hiding mysterious packages.

Re:Why a police caution ? (1)

isorox (205688) | more than 2 years ago | (#36680644)

Why was he given a police caution ? He did nothing illegal, nothing that police had previously been asked to be told about, so why a caution ? Yes what he did accidentally caused some disruption; but this was not intended.

Did he get a caution? Or is it some in-experienced beeb hack that's interpreting "The police talked to him [to find out it was innocent]" and linked that to an official police caution.

My bet's on the latter.

It wasn't Boston, this time... (1)

meerling (1487879) | more than 2 years ago | (#36680328)

Boston has massively overreacted to so much innocuous stuff over the past few years I had fully expected it to be them again.
This time it was the U.K., go figure...

Old saying; (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36680480)

Don't adjust your hat in your neighbour's orchard.

Not allowed to have innocent fun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36680540)

Police and terrorism, sucking the innocent fun out of life since forever.

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