A Cambridge student has listed the weirdest laws still in force in the UK

It’s illegal to be drunk in a pub


A Cambridge PhD student has compiled some of the weirdest things still illegal in the United Kingdom.

A report in the Guardian listed antiquated laws still in force, including:

• The 1872 Licensing Act, still in force, declares that “every person found drunk” on licensed premises, “shall be liable to a penalty.” The law can still be used by police today to crack down on public drunkenness. It is not a particularly abided by law.

• A ban on the beating of carpets outside in London after 8am in the morning.

• The Metropolitan Police Act of 1839 which made it illegal to carry a cask, tub, hoop, wheels, ladders, planks or poles on a “Footway” except when unloading a cart or carriage.

• A ban on the wearing of armour in Parliament that dates back to 1313 and the reign of Edward II.

• A law stating that all whales and sturgeon caught in British waters belong to the Crown.

Bizarre statutes are not confined to the middle-ages and Victorian times, however, with more recent statutes including:

• A 1986 Act which banned the handling of “salmon in suspicious circumstances”, without specifying those circumstances.

• A 2004 ban on the importing of potatoes from Poland without written notification.

Do not handle in a suspicious manner.

‘Handling salmon in a suspicious manner’ is a criminal offence

The 1341 regulation requiring all males aged 17 to 60 to own and regularly practise archery with a longbow, however, was repealed by Parliament in 1960 in a remarkable act of progressivism. Isn’t the House of Lords meant to stop that sort of thing?

Christopher Sargeant, a PhD student in Law at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, was commissioned to conduct the study by insurance firm Privilege Home Insurance, which wishes to highlight antiquated laws in the hope they might be removed from the statute book.

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Legal but no longer compulsory

It is unclear who would benefit, however, from the legalisation of suspicious salmon handling, the wearing of armour in Parliament, after-breakfast carpet beating or, god forbid, allowing inebriation in pubs.

Contrary to popular belief, there are also no towns in the UK where it is legal to kill a Scotsman or Welshman at any time of the day or week.