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kev100

Have you ever found yourself being visited by the police, whilst out observing?

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Well, this happened to me last night. I was packing up at around 11 (a combination of chilly breeze, being a bit tired anyway, and the sky being a bit hazy). I was at a spot (the Cerne Abbas Viewpoint), where, on average, I must have been at least once a month over the past five years, when I saw a car approaching, fast, from the direction of the village. Something about it made be stop getting into my car and watch it, and, as I sort of expected, it swerved quickly off the main road, and swept into the car park, pulling to a stop right behind my car, blocking me in. A police officer got out and immediately a spotlight in the roof was shone in my face!

The police officer asked me what I was doing, to which I replied 'stargazing', and opened the back door to show her the dob across the back seat. Immediately, the atmosphere changed. She said, 'oh ... would you look at that! See much? See anything nice? This is a good spot, isn't it? Well you can't be too careful, what with this being a secluded spot and all ...' Anyway, she then asked me for my name, and where I lived, and that was it ... she got back in the car and they left!

I've been left feeling very odd ever since. Clearly they were on a mission, and came right to the car park (it definitely wasn't a case of just passing by and noticing me). Someone definitely called them, having decided I was up to no good!

Anyway, as I said, it feels odd now, the police having my name and address as a result.

Kev

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We have the  USA's Listenimg outpost ( Menwith Hill)  next to us in Harrogate.   If you pull over to look at the stars and are within two miles of the base you will probably get a visit by some armed police within 30 mins......   This would be a big pity as the area is sufficiently outside Harrogate as to become a darker sky, BUT..... the base itself is lit up like Blackpool illuminations and so you tend to 'move-on' anyway.

All the police I have bumped into have been very nice indeed.  They are obviously suspicious and wary of cameras and 'telescopic' things.... but common sense usually prevails.

 

Sean.

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I would not worry about it Kev.

Most the time they take your name / details to cross reference previous convictions/cautions etc to see if anything else comes to light from a 'chance' meeting.  I have been mistaken for a wanted description in the past, and have been searched in broad daylight and the night time too.  I am pretty sure its quite common to have a brush with the police with nothing coming out of it.  Certainly it is for me :)

 

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Ello ello what's all this then?? Ha ha. So far, I've never actually been out but I do have an ambition to. I don't think I'd worry about the police even if they did check me out. I think I'd be more concerned about being a lady out on my own in the dark...

Louise

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I wouldn't worry about it mate, it just shows the police are doing there job its not a bad thing them being keen. charl.

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I've had several visits by curious police over the years. The first time was when I was just 18 years old and was sat by myself on a park bench with a pair of binoculars and a flask of coffee. I must have looked a bit weird from an onlookers point of view, as I was looking over the roof tops of some near by houses. It probably looked as if I'd settled down for a night's observing through bedroom windows. The police drove through the park to where i was sat and asked me what i was doing. They were very happy to help themselves to my coffee while browsing my star atlas.

On a more recent occasion, my friend and I were loading some equipment into my car in the early hours of the morning. It didn't occur to either of us that we looked rather suspicious dresses in black balaclava's. Once we'd explained what we were doing and I proved I lived at the property, they left happy. It was reassuring that the police were there really!

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We've even had the police cruising my remote neighbourhood in the evenings - they've been quite active this year...quite reassuring to be honest.

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Innocent until proven guilty!!

"What evidence have you to suspect me doing something illegal?"

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We often get a police chopper flying over. One night I was out with the 10” and red head torch, and it kept circling over me. I wondered whether they thought I had some sort of missile launcher. I decided not to point it at them. ;) 

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I was out in the back yard a few years ago, fiddling with the netbook and camera (as you do when imaging) when I heard a rustling coming from next doors garden. A moment later, a policeman popped his head overt the fence with an very bright torch asking who I was and what I was doing... well it was pretty flamin obvious! I suppose he had to check though becuase they had reports of someone seen messing about in one or two back gardens. Anyway, he left as soon as he saw the great hulking telescope setup in front of me...lol. But it did put me on edge for the rest of the night knowing there might have been someone a bit dodgy on the prowl.

We get the occasional copper chopper too, but theyre normally on the lookout for scally car theives.

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One evening I was treated to the police ( a policewoman with a VERY commanding voice) arresting a burglar in the woods behind our garden and chasing after his accomplice with dogs.

They didn't even notice me.

Next day a PC came to tell the neighbours - they didn't catch the other guy on the night but had a pretty good idea who he was.

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Not the police, but I felt very uncomfortable one evening when a neighbours daughter lent out the the loft window and took a photo of me in the obsy.  It just happened that I had been pointing along the roof tops further along the road trying to find a chimney in order to align my dual rig cameras.  

Was waiting for the police to turn up and being accused of being a peeping Tom.  

Carole 

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Police don't worry me by themselves, but neighbours who might ring them do, as the latter would then be breathing down my neck!

No approaches yet, but I've been watched watching - jostling curtains, chinks of light, security lights going on etc. 

Pros & cons of OTA colour. Bright gets noticed, but looks less sneaky. Dark more stealth but appears more suspicious. 

I have a pair of yellow marine binoculars (Baush & Lomb) that are very conspicuous but feel they make me look less burglarish. Perhaps conspicuous is good in the circs at home. 

Has anyone been out in the country & been challenged by farmers, gamekeepers etc?

 

 

Edited by 25585

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If the alarm goes off at the cricket pavilion next door the local police are usually right there within literally two or three days.  They're spread fairly thin in west Somerset.  It had never occurred to me that I might get a night-time visit from them.

James

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3 minutes ago, 25585 said:

Police don't worry me by themselves, but neighbours who might ring them do, as the latter would then be breathing down my neck!

No approaches yet, but I've been watched watching - jostling curtains, chinks of light, security lights going on etc.

What you need is a jacket with "ASTRONOMER" written in hi-viz lettering on the back :)

James

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Actually, you could have one with "ASTROLOGER" in hi-viz lettering.  Then if anyone did turn up you could greet them with "Hello!  I've been expecting you!" :D

James

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Once had the chopper circle round and round, most likely they could see me in the obsy but would assume they had more pressing engagement.
Was waiting to see if one would turn up but non did.

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10 hours ago, JamesF said:

Actually, you could have one with "ASTROLOGER" in hi-viz lettering.  Then if anyone did turn up you could greet them with "Hello!  I've been expecting you!" :D

James

If you were an ASTROLOGER you would have seen them coming :) 

whoops, sorry, didn’t read your post properly doh

Edited by Scooot

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19 hours ago, 25585 said:

Has anyone been out in the country & been challenged by farmers, gamekeepers etc?

Do inquisitive bullocks count?

 

8 hours ago, wxsatuser said:

Once had the chopper circle round and round, most likely they could see me in the obsy but would assume they had more pressing engagement.
Was waiting to see if one would turn up but non did.

 

Perhaps they were hoping you would switch on a an RDF so they could taser you from on high? :icon_albino:

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One reason you might get a visit is if your using a red torch, reds used by people that are lamping with rifles. Things have changed over the last few years with more people using night vision kit, as its more affordable now.

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Thanks everyone for contributing to this, ands sharing your experiences - it turned into a very entertaining thread. I was a bit upset at having had the police called, but I'm over it now (hearing others' experiences has helped a lot). 

Cheers,

Kev

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Earlier this year I had new neighbours knocking on the back door (I was outside in the observatory).  They thought someone was breaking into our 'shed' (my observatory).  IT's nice to know that the new neighbours are keeping an eye on the place.

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They often pass by at about 2am. They slow down as they go by & I very deliberately turn my head to follow them as they do.

Of course, the one time it would have been really useful  - when someone was pinching my laptop - there wasn't one for miles! 

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The NIGHT (time) is a whole different world? Having "worked nights" and
been an ardent (youthful) "dirty stop-out", I have interacted with Police...
I suppose (unless proven otherwise) you are anyway "Up to no good"! :D

I once got a TAXI to and from a DARK SITE --- No problems, but I had a
hard time living with the (probably justified) *merriment* of the drivers!
Maybe all we Astronomers (night owls) are a "little bit crazy", but Hey! :p

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