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kev100

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

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At a club observing session many years back, on bloke had a transit for his 16”... the fuzz turned up wondering if we were “car breaking”... they left quickly when they saw the telescopes all lined up.

Peter

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I have had a couple of occasions when the police have visited, but not here in the UK.  It was while my scope was set up so obvious as to what I was doing. Anyway, the next time I'll just point to the badge on my fleece and show them my hot water bottle; that should be good for a laugh and diffuse any concerns. :grin:

 

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Stargazing is what I always tell the plod when I'm out a burgling.  

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I haven't been visited by the Police while taking part in astronomy. But I did in a previous life when I was a very keen fishermen. I was collecting lobworms late at night and a Police car pulled over to see what I was "up to". The view of a bucket of slimy worms was more than enough evidence!

I do get a lot of cars slow down a look in the general direction your equipment is facing. It would be nice to see the Police a little more to be honest.

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When I was about 19, my brother (17) and I decided it would be fun to see if we could catch out our Dad who was supposed to have given up smoking.

We knew he'd made an excuse to nip down to his shop (TV rentals) that had a workshop/storeroom out the back. We climbed the gate in the dark, me with Zenit TTL and flash in hand.

We didn't find him, but  Old Bill found us. It didn't help that I took a flash photo of the mysterious figure who approached me in the dark waving a torch... my brother disappeared. He said he sat down as that was the best way to avoid 'police brutality' (well it was the early 1980s).

Somehow I managed to convince them of our ridiculous story....

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The darksite I use (With landowners permission) is quite near the Police helicopter station and we frequently get Buzzed especially on Friday/Saturday nights when they are very busy.

Haven't had a visit from them yet.

The landowner often passes by and has a chat.

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When you have a TV-85 and a 120ED set up on an Ercole mount pointing up at the Moon, it's pretty obvious what you're doing. Nonetheless, someone had called the police. "You're in someone's front garden", came the explanation. "Glad to know I count as someone", I replied. "We were called by someone saying you were in their garden." I assured them the other member of my household knew it was me and had not made the call. A quick check of the caller's phone number corroborated this. Apparently a helpful, disapproving neighbour - who would of course remain nameless. The police got a nice look at the Moon and left me to it.

Naturally, since then, I take every possible opportunity to set up at least one scope on that spot in the garden, even when there's complete cloud cover. No more police visits.

:grin:

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My next door neighbours know I have a scope. But at back is where there is a probably paranoid cul-de-sac. 

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Depends on where you are set up, at a rural location, there is a list of unwanted human visitors, so a curious police officer would be OK. Encountered this once a few years ago, a quiet remote spot, a car pulled up and the occupant shone a flash light into my face whilst walking towards me, so an immense relief to learn it was only a local police officer, apparently taking a short cut home. More 'Last of the Summer Wine' than 'The Bill' he was entertained with a 'grand tour' expressing comments such as "wait till I tell me wife this in the morning". All very well except that I'd just encountered my first ever view of the Horse Head Nebula and Orion was very nicely positioned in the South, when he had turned up, it was a considerable time, I think the following season before I got another chance. I like to venture into the Northumberland, which has international dark sky status. I do not use any specific designated dark sky site (though have done in the past) yet feel that my presence here has a degree of recognition, entitlement, status. My attitude would be the same as if I had ventured out to do a spot of night fishing, dependant on the water course considering permits, license etc. A new encounter a few months back, on an early morning journey home, on the quiet A696 that links Newcastle to Jedburgh and then beyond to Edinburgh, when out of no where a police car started tailing me, obviously doing some checks. It was quite irritating but I would have been obliging if pulled over to introduce him to the 14" solid tube dob that was tardis like stored into the Nissan Note. The car veered off back to police HQ at Ponteland.  

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On 19/12/2017 at 17:11, Pete Presland said:

I haven't been visited by the Police while taking part in astronomy. But I did in a previous life when I was a very keen fishermen. I was collecting lobworms late at night and a Police car pulled over to see what I was "up to". The view of a bucket of slimy worms was more than enough evidence!

I do get a lot of cars slow down a look in the general direction your equipment is facing. It would be nice to see the Police a little more to be honest.

Same here - my parents' lawn was small so I used to collect lob worms from the open ground opposite. I must have been quite a sight, torch, bucket of worms and woolly glove on one hand to grip the worms...

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On 12/17/2017 at 06:17, Scooot said:

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

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

Said the psychic to his psychiatrist when he bumped into him on the street, "You're fine. How am I ?" Think itsa David Bowie joke I heard him tell. We've been pulled up on 2x at home (that I know of), probably for our laser. I looked invitingly, even stepped away from the ladder, and I could tell they wanted a look see but in the end decided they didn't want to move out of their patrol mode.

Edited by laowhoo

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My second light with new scope a couple months ago, I'm sat there observing at around 3.30 - 4am and I hear 3 or 4 loud bangs on glass, the last bang was when the glass went through. It was one of the houses backing onto my back, dogs were barking too but never heard anymore after that from anyone, couldn't see anything as there is a thick bank of trees separating the backs, I did go inside to get myself a piece of timber to keep handy just encase.

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I avoid them-- but I do enjoy the real wild life that comes around including a bear, many raccoons, skunks etc. even one eating my cookies inside my opened trunk of my car.

Edited by VNA
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On 16/12/2017 at 18:22, Phil Fargaze said:

It could be that the police have had complaints about nighthawkers (illegal metal detectors) at nearby ancient sites

That's definitely a possibilty. There are a few other activities I can think of as well... It's amazing what you can see at a rural picnic site (especially one with parking) after dark.

Edited by billyharris72
Added.

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I have no worries about police visits. Glad they know I'm out viewing. It's the public in general, especially cars that slow down which worry me. 

Just renewed my house insurance & upped the cover for value of possessions lost or damaged away from home. "Speak softly and carry a F9 refractor"

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Not police, but once was helping run an open night. I think it was the Apr 1996 Lunar Eclipse - it was really busy, reporter Emma Simpson from Sky turned up and a few of us were on the telly... Suddenly, we had a fire engine + crew turn up - thought someone had prank called, but actually they were just passing by and fancied taking a look!  :biggrin:

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Hi Kevin, only just saw this - I've not been on SGL for a while (house move and other things)

I've been bothered by the police a few times. Well, I say bothered - the first time they were looking for someone and wondered if I was them, until they saw the 10" dob I'd hauled out the back of my flats. Then they were mostly interested in what I was looking at (a very dim Leo triplet - too much LP). I think they might've thought I was smoking pot too, but realised that it was my reading torch.

Another time I was out in the wilds for a big night out, and I was just packing up when a police 4x4 came up the track. They started with "What're you doing here?", and wound up asking "So, you could get a decent manual scope for a few hundred quid? Might have to tell the wife", and suggesting other dark locations to try.  Couldn't have been nicer.

Neither pair of them took my details, though. You must look like a scoundrel! :wink:

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My only surprise visitors to date have been my neighbors' inquisitive dog (crawling under our garden fence), local celebrity cat Six-Dinner Sid (I only realised he was around when my tripod began to wobble), a hedgehog and an urban fox!

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Several years ago when driving whilst on business, I used to carry a decent pair of bins and a photo tripod in my car for overnight stays in Travel Lodges. At one particular stopover, the service road ran through some nice grounds and lawns where I pitched my astro gear.

The cops drew up and came over to find out what I was "up to" lol. They were fascinated when I showed them Saturn emerging from behind the full moon in a rare alignment. They were full of questions like, how far away was it, how did I know it was going to happen and when, how did I know what gear to use, can it be seen any bigger in a telescope, etc. They lingered for about 15mins before they got a call. I certainly arrested their attention for a change lol.

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I had the police come over to me as someone had reported a man dragging a body across a field! How a 16" dob got confused with a body I'll never know. They were very nice about it. Another time I was in my own front garden with the scope (Potters Bar , north of London) and a police car arrived. They were far less pleasant, and were actively suspicious. I explained what I was doing and offered them a look but they took this as sarcasm, which made things worst.

Iain 

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I've had an Armed Response Unit in my garden, a helicopter hovering 100m overhead, and what is worse, a police officer asking me "have you been interested in Astrology for a long time?"

Chris

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5 minutes ago, Demonperformer said:

overkill?

Clearly, with 180 Maks aka "planet killers", you have to take precautions.

Chris

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3 hours ago, chiltonstar said:

I've had an Armed Response Unit in my garden, a helicopter hovering 100m overhead, and what is worse, a police officer asking me "have you been interested in Astrology for a long time?"

Chris

Thanks for givin me first loud laugh in front of my laptop for today.  :laughing4:

Greats & CS

Svend

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1 hour ago, Svend said:

Thanks for giving me first loud laugh in front of my laptop for today.  :laughing4:

Greats & CS

Svend

To be fair, they were doing their job. They had had a report of someone dodgy in black with a strange light and some long gun like object (we do have lampers round here, with shotguns with LED lights taped to the top).

Chris

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