Norwich men’s clothing shop, Philip Browne on Guildhall Hill, causes a stir with mannequin’s toilet humour

A shop owner's light-hearted way of advertising his new year's sale has caused something of a stir with city centre shoppers.

But Philip Browne got more than he bargained for when a complaint about his shop window display led to a call from the police.

The Philip Browne menswear shop, in Guildhall Hill, Norwich, features a wooden mannequin posed as a man urinating on a wall and spelling out the word 'sale'.

The scene is completed with empty champagne bottles, party poppers and discarded clothes to depict the aftermath of a night out.

Mr Browne says the display has amused shoppers young and old, but now he has been advised by police to remove the mannequin after a complaint was made.


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Mr Browne said: 'It has been there 10-12 days; it's just Great Yarmouth-style saucy, end-of-the-pier seaside humour. Everyone has been laughing about it.'

However, police were contacted by someone who was offended and the shop has now been warned it could be in violation of the 1986 Public Order Act, and advised he remove the mannequin.

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'I think is unfair,' said Mr Browne. 'We've had kids and families, laughing at it. We've had old ladies in their 70s laughing.

'In a gallery it is not offensive, but in public you can be prosecuted. It only takes one person.'

However, Mr Browne added: 'We will change the display and apologise to whoever it is; we did not set out to offend anybody.'

The man behind the display is 30-year-old Richard Evans, who has a degree in illustration and works at the shop.

Mr Evans said: 'The main purpose is to stop people and grab their attention. It gets them thinking outside the box and draws attention to the shop.

'Browne's has been known for that over the years. For me personally it is like having an art installation; it is not there to offend people.

'I could have done a lot worse to be honest; I don't think it is offensive. I understand the reasoning behind the complaint, but it is really not that big a deal. I think people take life a bit too seriously sometimes.'

One person who said he was offended by the mannequin was Stuart Goodman, a former Fleet Street photographer, who lives in St Philips Road, off Dereham Road, Norwich.

'This is going too far to the extent of being stupid. I'm against censorship but this is disgracefully offensive,' said Mr Goodman, 64.

'City Hall have put huge amounts of our money into making the city centre a centre for retail. For this shop to cheapen it is a bad thing. I'm not offended myself, but it is a very public space; it just seems wrong to put it in a space where people could be offended, and kids could see it.

'There is no need for it, it is cheap, nasty and pathetic.'

A Norfolk police spokesman said: 'I can confirm that we have received a complaint about this shop window display from a member of the public. As a consequence, an officer called the shop to advise them that the mannequin could be considered offensive and gave words of advice. Officers will monitor the situation.'

What do you think? Write to Evening News letters at Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE, or email eveningnewsletters@archant.co.uk

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