How many of these 11 bizarre UK laws have you broken?
- Credit: Archant
You may be trying to keep on the straight and narrow and stay on the right side of the law.
But in the UK several archaic legal rules are still in place today.
How many of these bizarre UK laws have you broken?
1. Flying a kite in a public place
It may be a fun summer pastime but flying a kite in a public space is actually illegal.
The law from 1839 was brought in by the Metropolitan Police to prevent there being common nuisances and danger to local passengers.
2. Being drunk in a pub or licensed premises
On any given night it is likely there may be one person who has had a few too many pints at the pub but this is actually breaking the law.
Section 12 of the Licensing Act of 1872 says: “Every person found drunk on any highway or other public place, whether a building or not or any licensed premises, shall be liable to a penalty."
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The act was amended in 1988 to extend this prohibition to all public places, including pubs, clubs, and even private homes if alcohol is being sold there.
3. Handling a salmon and looking at all suspicious
If you find yourself holding a salmon, you best not be up to any fishy business as this could land you in trouble.
Section 23 of the Salmon Act 1986 makes it an offence to handle a fish while looking suspicious.
It may seem bizarre but the law does make sense when understanding the context.
The Salmon Act 1986 aimed to stop people selling fish illegally on the black market, rather than a person loitering in a dark alley while brandishing a salmon.
4. Walking on the pavement with a plank of wood
It is illegal to walk along the pavement while carrying a plank of wood unless there is an intention of it being unloaded or taken into a vehicle.
The law dates back to medieval times when overloaded carts would often lose planks of wood from them, which would fall onto the pavement posing a danger to pedestrians.
The Metropolitan Police Act says: “A plank of wood must not be carried along a pavement. It can only be moved if it is being unloaded from a vehicle or taken into a building.”
5. It is illegal to linger after a funeral
It may be a sad occasion but mourners who spend too long lingering at a funeral could find themselves in trouble.
According to UK law, people are not allowed to hang around for too long following the ceremony and this is a law that is still enforced.
A man from Nottingham was fined £160 in 2015 for overstaying his welcome after burying his deceased wife.
6. Honking your horn aggressively
Beeping your horn aggressively could land you with a hefty fine.
According to Rule 112 of the Highway Code, sounding your horn should only be done while your vehicle is moving and you need to warn other road users of your presence.
But it should never be done aggressively.
If caught, you could be slapped with a £50 fine or more if the case is taken to court.
It is also against the law to sound a horn while the vehicle is stationary or in a built-up area between 11.30pm and 7am.
7. Placing a stamp upside down
It may seem extreme but placing a stamp upside down on an envelope is considered an act of treason.
Under the Treason Felony Act of 1848, offenders could technically be sentenced to imprisonment.
Thankfully, the part of the law that threatened to transport people "beyond the seas till the end of your natural life" has been repealed.
8. Knock, Knock, Ginger
Playing Knock, Knock, Ginger can be incredibly irritating for the victims but it is a game that many people have likely played in their youth.
But knocking on doors or ringing doorbells and then running away is actually illegal and could land you in trouble.
The Metropolitan Police Act of 1839 states it is against the law for “every person who shall wilfully and wantonly disturb any inhabitant by pulling or ringing any doorbell or knocking at any door without lawful excuse, or who shall wilfully and unlawfully extinguish the light of any lamp”.
9. Members of parliament cannot wear armour inside parliament quarters
MPs will have to rely on their sharp tongues for defence as it is illegal to wear any form of armour while in parliament quarters.
The law dates back to the 12th century and was created by Edward II who put it into place to stop the violence between two opposing factions in parliament - the pro-royalist Lancastrians and the anti-royalist Earl of Gloucester’s party.
Despite its medieval origins, it remains in place today.
10. Shaking or beating your rug in the street
A quick shakedown of a dusty rug may seem a harmless activity but it could land you in some bother.
Section 60 of the Metropolitan Police Act 1839 says that is illegal for anybody to beat or shake any carpets, rugs or mats, except for doormats before 8 am.
11. Walking a herd of cattle down the street in daylight
If you are planning on taking your bovine friends for a stroll along the street it may be wise to think again as this would be breaking the law.
According to the Metropolitan Streets Act of 1867, it is illegal to drive any cattle through the streets during the specific hours of 10am until 7 pm, unless somebody had specific permission from the Police Commissioner.
The law says "any person driving or conducting cattle in contravention of this section shall be liable to a penalty not exceeding ten shillings for each head of cattle so driven or conducted”.