Saturday, 27 Nov 2021

Bloke’s Halloween prank goes wrong as police called to ‘kidnap victim in van’

A dad's Halloween prank ended in disaster when police arrived at his door to investigate reports of a "kidnapped" man hanging from the back of his van, before realising it was just a plastic arm and leg.

Daren Houlker forgot that he had left the decoration super-realistically lodged between the doors of his white van when he took the two-mile trip on Wednesday (October 27).

The 49-year-old was reportedly shocked when he saw a police officer on his doorstep through his Ring app, so rushed home where the concerned copper said they were investigating a kidnapping.

Darren reportedly asked the officer to check the van with a grin on his face and said the officer took a closer look and laughed.

The amused officer radioed his colleagues to "all stand down" and reportedly claimed it "one of best jobs he's been called out to".

The 49-year-old prankster believes that a "stupid" motorist who "should go to Specsavers" must have seen the plastic limbs hanging out of the truck and called 999.

He said he was pleased his creepy prank went "perfectly" even if it did go "a bit too far".

The father of two has even purchased crime scene tape to go around his van so he can continue to frighten passers-by over Halloween weekend.

Darren, from Urmston, Greater Manchester, said: "It's a little prank that I do. Usually I put it in my car but this year I thought I'd put it in my van because I'm not using the van this week. I nipped out to drop some bits off at my dad's house and I forgot about it.

"On the way back I stopped at my brother's house and I could hear sirens, so I thought 'what's going on', then my Ring app pinged and I saw the police outside my door.

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"I was worried because I didn't know if my partner had called them, so I flew back home. I asked him what the matter was and he said 'we've had a report about kidnapping'. I just said 'mate, go and look at the back of the van'.

"He shut his eyes, looked to the skies and said 'everybody stand down, it's a prosthetic arm and leg'. They must have had a full police search for me.

"He couldn't stop laughing. 'He said that's one of the best jobs I've ever been called out'. It probably made his day. It was comical. I'd only put it there that morning, so it was only there for a few hours.

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"Because it was windy as I was driving down the road, I think the arm and leg were moving. That probably added to it. Somebody behind must have thought someone was asking for help.

"The prank's gone perfectly, but I didn't expect it to go that far. Maybe it went too far, but it's all good fun. This hasn't put me off at all. I'll leave it on the drive."

Greater Manchester Police have been contacted for comment.

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