Police unmask mystery teen in Black Death plague outfit

PUBLISHED: 10:38 05 May 2020 | UPDATED: 16:44 06 May 2020

Picture of person walking around Hellesdon in plague outfit. PIC: Fiona Fahy on the Hellesdon Life and Events Group on Facebook.

Picture of person walking around Hellesdon in plague outfit. PIC: Fiona Fahy on the Hellesdon Life and Events Group on Facebook.


Police have caught up with a teenager who had been “terrifying” people by walking round a Norwich suburb in a Black Death plague outfit.

Sightings of the person, dressed in a black coat, hat and pointed beak-like mask, walking around in the Hellesdon area last month had prompted alarm and amusement on social media.

Images of the mysterious figure were posted on the Hellesdon Life and Events group on Facebook.

One person wrote: “Scared the life out of my missus. Terrifying for kids.”

But Norfolk Police confirmed they had now caught up with the individual and given “words of advice”.

A police spokesman said: “Officers from the local neighbourhood team have identified the individual as a boy in his late teens.

“The individual has been spoken to about the consequences his actions may have on some people in the local community and was given words of advice as a result.”

As previously reported, Danny Buck, a historian at the University of East Anglia, who spotted the picture, posted about the individual on Twitter, saying “the police believe local residents are finding it disturbing”.

Jade Gosbell, 21, took a photograph of the person walking across a recreation ground in Hellesdon.

“It was like 20 degrees, he was wearing a full black suit, it just looked ridiculous,” she said.

“It’s clearly for attention or something like that, because normal people just wouldn’t do that.”

The furloughed gym worker continued: “I was sitting there and I was getting angry myself as my mum has a phobia of masks. I know that even in daylight if she was to go round the corner and bump into him she would be so scared.

“Kids would be frightened, my mum would be frightened, however some people really don’t think it’s that deep, they just think that he’s having a laugh, he’s just trying to find something to do with himself during isolation and lockdown.”

She said she has not seen the person since a Facebook post drew attention to them, adding: “I was told that if I see him again to call the police.”

The costume is like that worn by doctors treating those with Black Death in the belief the mask acted as a filter.

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