back to article 'Let me use poo-flinging Roman siege engine against burglars'

A colourful businessman who says he is being harassed by burglars and arsonists has deployed a modified Roman siege engine to protect his premises. For use as a non-lethal security measure the catapult is loaded with chicken excrement, but even so its use has been forbidden by the police - apparently resulting in more break-ins …


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  1. Damien Thorn


    If he has land, any farmer will tell you 40 geese are a match for even the most stupid burglar.

    So roman tech is too new for burglars, the eye of horus with both barrels pointing out is more in line with what the police would accept.

    If you were a lazy stupid fucking burglar would you go near the eye?

  2. Joe K
    Thumb Up


    This is the greatest story, of all stories, and had me gripped till the end.

    Would read again!

  3. g e
    Thumb Down


    God forbid anyone other than the terminally disinterested UK police force should try and deter crims from plying their craft.

    May I suggest a swift baton to the back of the legs of anyone trying to defend their property.

    "Throw him to the ground roughly, centurion!"

  4. Emo


    His insurance premiums must be sky high!

  5. Adam Silver badge

    Notts pol

    Presumably Nottinghamshire Police were too busy using "SAS-style" tactics to arrest 114 people for the thought-crime of thinking about protesting at Ratcliffe-on-Soar to go looking for arsonists.

    Which one is a disproportionate use of force?

    Nottinghamshire's also the force that famously felt that it didn't have enough resources to investigate all the murders on its patch.

  6. Joseph Benning

    Too big for the cannon??

    “She’s 54 now and far too big to fit into the cannon,”

    Bet that went down like a sack of chicken sh1t with her indoors!

    Mines the one with the bird muck down the back.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    I don't think the poo is the problem

    Have you ever lifted a railway sleeper? They are heavy old lumps. Firing one of these at somebody from a trebuchet would hardly be a proportionate response to trespass or even burglary.

    The whole idea of a chicken shit trebuchet may sound like something out of Tom and Jerry, but how would it actually play out in court if he were to shoot an intruder with a railway sleeper?

    "Yes your honour, my client did indeed batter the victim repeatedly in the face with a frying pan , but the victim was at the time trying to steal a ribeye steak from him. So it is my client's view that this is an entirely reasoned response." If you happen to be a cartoon mouse that is.

  8. Eddy Ito

    I don't understand

    Couldn't he just hire chimps to guard the place? They work for peanuts and can fling feces with the best of them. Barring that he could upgrade to super soakers filled with rancid butter or concentrated urine, preferably from a male fox as the stuff from a doe in heat will bring more damage from a bunch of horny bucks than he thought possible, even in the city.

    I'd say add security cameras but being the UK, I imagine the blue boys in the hood are already watching the show whilst enjoying their tea and crumpets*. Then again, maybe it's because the turd tosser is simply too indiscriminate and the blue boys are tired of cleaning the chicken shit from their uniforms.

    *I'm assuming that's the preferred choice, on this side of the pond it is coffee and doughnuts. Please correct me if I'm wrong, I'd hate to get stopped over there and be unprepared.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Poor naiive man...

    ... seems to think it's the job of the Police to protect the tax payers from criminals...

    Nah, the job of the modern rozzer is to keep the people in their place, the crims happy (to justify their own existence), and protect Big Brother and Airstrip One from all ideas of personal liberty.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "May I suggest a swift baton to the back of the legs"

    But you do that, and the person has a heart attack a coupel of hours later and the media say you killed him!

  11. Anonymous Coward


    I'm pretty sure a wife flinging catapult loaded full of chicken poo could easily kill someone, and even if it doesn't you would still have to clean up the mess afterwards.

    Perhaps I might suggest a powerful sprinkler system on a timer hooked up to a PIR sensor, although this would only work in cold places.

  12. Andy Livingstone

    He may seem a nutter, but he's spot on.

    Will all those who have been burgled and not felt the same please form a queue at the door of their Police station.

    Oh sorry, cannot do that. Mine is closed as is the one in the next village. We are "served" by a call centre 50 miles away and a Noddy car that goes round some weeks.

    At annual Village Festival the entire force (all 4) turn out in clean uniforms and white gloves - lest we forget what they look like.

  13. Gordon Crawford

    here in the state

    Here in the state of Maryland of usa , you are not allowed the right to defend your self . Seriously ! The coppers will [in groups] will say

    copr1 " do defend yourself "

    copr2 " do what it takes "

    copr3 " We will sort it out when WE get there "

    copr4 " just do not hurt the them "

    coprs1-4 ' laffs"

    we are not even legally allowed bullet proof vests ....

    and personally I know they can and do refuse to take reports......twice now in my life...

    [and you wonder why we act like the wild wild west here ]

    to disgusted to even post more on this subject here in the Ultra Servitude of Affluence

  14. Kevin
    Dead Vulture

    Reduced to trebuchets?

    Yeah, I've got 30 rounds of 5.56 for any burglar stupid enough to break in here, probably why you don't see many home invasions in the suburbs down South. Y'all have fun with your trebuchets, I really hope one day you wrest back your natural right to self defense. Gordon, are you sure about that? Guess that's another reason for me to avoid Maryland! Headstone for anyone coming through my door.

  15. Eduard Coli

    It's for his own good

    In merry old, you can be sued by thieves if they trip over a carpet in your house while robbing it and hurt themselves...

    If your a privileged and can afford to own a shotgun legally and you surprise a thief who is armed with a machine gun (illegally, of course) and the poor fellow dies, you can be prosecuted with murder...

    Of course we here in the comment celler are not lawyers or any such thing so this is not legal advice and YMMV...

  16. Robert Ramsay

    This is an awesome story

    I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

  17. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Bloody hell...

    ...if you'd said Armando Iannucci and Chris Morris had gone on a three month tequila bender and came up with this when coming down from a peyote high I would have believed you.

    But this is real???? The man's a national treasure:

    'One of the girls, Theresa, achieved the World Record for riding a motorcycle through the longest tunnel of fire – shortly before setting fire to Joe’s sales kiosk by pouring petrol instead of fat into the donut machine.'

    Best web page ever.

    If he can't shower crims with shit, is he up to do the House of Commons?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    We want proof!!

    I think we need a reconstruction of this on Friday. It isn't over until the fat lady flies.

    Paris, cos she knows how to handle weapons.

  19. David

    Scary dairy

    More power to, I say. Burglers, villains and footpads deserve a damn' good thrashing. Cads and bighndahs, the lot of `em!

  20. Anonymous Coward

    RE: Reduced to trebuchets?

    But the place is littered with the bodies of friendly neighbours who popped round to let you know your Truck lights are on. Perhaps the reason you "don't see many home invasions in the suburbs down South." is because no one actually wants to break into your house to do anything other then steal your insured possession you paranoid psycho.

    For such a religious country you sure do take the sixth commandment "thou shalt not kill" lightly, I don't believe in the cloud fairy but the ethical absolutes of religious doctrines didn't just fall off a mountain carved in stone you know......

  21. Anonymous Coward

    Reads like a history of Monty Python

    I particularly liked '...called "FIASCOS - where dining meets disaster". After the company premises were destroyed by a hurricane he returned ...'

    Mine's the life preserver with the gravy stains down the front.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Eduard Coli

    The hurting themselves tripping over your carpet suing thing is because you have a duty of care to anyone who enters your property whether legally or not. Absurd as it may be (1) your buildings insurance will cover any pay out required, (2) they would have to prove you breached your duty of care, so if they didn't turn the lights on then they are pretty much screwed and (3) please go back to reading the Daily Mail, it is far more up your street by all accounts.

    As for your analogy for being prosecuted for murder, please get a grip man! If hordes of machine gun wielding* burglars broke into your house and you grabbed a legally held shotgun, found the legally held separate shells and with no other option* shot them dead then you would get arrested _on suspicion_ of murder but then almost certainly** released without charge.

    * we don't have machine gun wielding anythings in this country, its Britain damn it! not fucking Alabama

    **Like getting the fuck out and calling the police - I accept there may be cases where this would not be an option but given the laws for holding shotguns in this country it is far more likely that you could run away than get all Dirty Harry. And if you have family then surely only a complete twat would chose gunfight at the OK coral over protecting loved ones anyway. remember kids, this is the UK where we don't go around shooting people as a matter of course. You want the right to go around putting caps in people's arses then might I suggest joining the army or moving to Baghdad.

  23. RichardB


    But how about if they had a table leg? Can we shoot them then? Or is that only something the polis are allowed to do?

  24. Anonymous Coward

    I say..

    Fluck em. You come into my house, illegally trespassing to injure me or mine, and I'll use you for compost.

    In my youth, I lived in Jo'burg (an affluent region in South Africa); murder rates were high even for the times due to hijackings, robberies carried out in the day, etc. It's worse now.

    Anyway, I recall the entire block around my neighbor was the only area in the entire city that had never in the years before and while I lived there been burglarized, attacked, stoned or any other form of crime visited on it. Criminals were too sh*t scared. See, my neighbor owned a variety of shotguns. And he didn't shoot to wound, he shot to maim. Never to kill, though I'm surprised given that the reason he had that attitude was due to his daughter being assaulted in his own home. He's since long ago moved away, but according to my parents the local riff-raff still cower and cover their "members" when you mention his name.

    The situation there is pretty grim, but crime is going UP, not down in the UK. Rape, burglary, assault, vandalism is rife now in the smaller towns, and worse in the bigger towns.

    And what do plods do? Break speed limits gleefully without their lights on, in personal cars (while ambulances get dragged to court for rushing to the scene). Assault people in the streets holding camera's without any reason whatsoever. Shoot (and kill) innocent travelers in the train station. Jeez, I wouldn't be surprised if they're only p*ssed because they and their buddies are the burglars themselves...

    Criminals give up their rights the moment they break into your home with either dishonorable or illegal intentions. It's up to us to tell them it's unacceptable behavior; since the plods couldn't be bothered to even try - or might even join in if given half the chance.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    reasonable force...

    "these measures didn't come under the heading of reasonable force"

    I think this is a correct assumption. A Desert Eagle or a Sig would be better suited, and it wouldn't cause as much of a mess beyond the blood stains.

    Are the cops in this city afraid of arresting someone smelling of chicken feces??? It's gotta be safer than tasers, but then, they only seem to kill innocents with those.

  26. Joe Zeff

    An Englishman's home is his castle

    From where I'm sitting on America's Left Coast, what he's been doing is taking that old saying a tad too literally. Unless, of course, he actually lives in a castle, in which case the defenses are quite appropriate.

    My coat? Oh, it's the one on my tongue.

  27. Kevin
    Thumb Up

    RE: RE: Reduced to trebuchets?

    I'm an atheist, but thanks for playing! And typically neighbors are smart enough to not kick in doors here, is that how you greet each other across the pond?

  28. tfewster


    "Duty of care" and "Human rights" are how civilised people live together, in a community with rules for the benefit of all. If someone chooses not to live by those rules - Then should they retain the rights of that society? Incidentally, Human Rights include protection of your property.

    You agree it's absurd that a burglar should be able sue (and win) - so why flame Eduard for bringing up that point?


    > we don't have machine gun wielding anythings in this country, its Britain damn it!

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Guns and home defense.

    So lets see... you're not allowed to do ANYTHING to prevent someone from walking in to your house and taking your stuff?

    What would you do if a criminal with a cricket bat walked in your front door and started taking your expensive electronics? If you call the police and do nothing else, the criminal will be long gone, because the police are off beating random people to death.

    I, on the other hand, have a number of weapons that I know how to use, and can legally use if I fear for my life. I don't have to attempt to flee my house and give free reign to the crims first.

    I don't expect to need more than the machete. If I need more than two feet of sharp metal, the 12 gauge shotgun will handle it. The rifles are primarily for use in protecting the country from the government, but would also be broken out in drastic emergencies.

    Helicopter because the AK crossing the saber isn't available.

  30. CeeTee
    Thumb Up

    Weston-Webb for President!

    What a star! If he's not welcome in the UK or US, come to Alberta - they'd love him here!

  31. Mike Flugennock

    Appalling, this guy can't defend his own property...

    ...on account of some "chickenshit" regulation.

    Thanks, you've all been wonderful, I'm here all week.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yes, but...

    ...I've no doubt he's more interesting to read about than live next door to or do business with.

  33. david wilson

    Self defence?

    What possible use is a trebuchet as a defensive weapon?

    Do you wait around outside your house 24/7 in case someone decides to burgle it, and then get people to stand still on a well-marked target spot while you fire it at them?.

    This story sounds rather more like someone with an ailing business trying to get some free pubicity.

  34. Henry Wertz Gold badge

    He'd have better luck in the states

    "Have you ever lifted a railway sleeper? They are heavy old lumps. Firing one of these at somebody from a trebuchet would hardly be a proportionate response to trespass or even burglary."

    It's proportionate here in the states. In my state, I think I'm allowed to shoot below the waist. In some states shoot to kill is just fine for tresspassers -- and no, they don't go around shooting neighbors and such in those states. Given I can fire a .38 at a tresspasser I'd assume I can launch a railroad tie right at a tresspasser, no sweat... or fling chicken shit at them. (That said, I don't have any guns, railroad ties, OR chicken shit. But, this article shows what happens when the gov't decided you don't have the right to defend your own property...)

    You guys in the UK need to either (preferably both) 1) Quit going towards a surveillance society, with cops just watching cameras instead of actually enforcing the law. Cameras DON'T catch criminals. 2) Allow people to defend their own property. Not guns necessarily, but KNOWING the cops won't show up, you should be permitted to slow the burglers down... I'd suggest a nice baseball bat to the legs. If you don't, you'll be absolutely overrun with crime.

  35. TeeCee Gold badge

    Simple really.

    He should give up on the mantraps and put in a burglar alarm.

    I'm thinking a trebuchet loaded with a concert grand piano would do the job quite nicely. Difficult to sleep through that. If any scumbags happened to get hit by the piano as it came down then that would just be an unfortunate side-effect.

  36. Steve
    Thumb Up

    Well just stick with the muck

    Ok so the railway sleeper is a bit much, but why not the chicken shit?

    Great story, I thought it was by Mr Lester Haines!

  37. Steve W

    Out-gunned ?

    It doesn't matter how much chicken shit the weapon discharges ; it pales into insignificance compared to the amount of bullshit that the Police and Government can produce when faced with the possibility of a home owner protecting their property.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    no no no

    "I'd suggest a nice baseball bat to the legs."

    then you'd be in trouble as they could claim all sorts of things, You'd probably end up being charged with ABH and go to prison while they get a slap on the wrist and told not to do it again.

    I believe the unnofficial advice given out a while ago was to make sure you kill whoever breaks in, and to make sure they are found somewhere that is threatening to you or your family in their sleep*, such as the top of your stairs near a bedroom.

    *obviously not one to try for a daytime break-in.

  39. Simon B

    UK police = proper SLEEPING policemen

    The police in this country are fucking wank. They sit on there arses, wont do jack shite, and if YOU try to do THEIR job for them they stop you. If they did their job properly people wouldn't have to resort to their own measures.


  40. VulcanV5

    Guy's a genius.

    I spent many years in Public Relations and no-one in any agency, national or international, ever came up with an awareness-raising campaign as successful as this.

    The guy has made a career out of profiting from the outlandishly daft -- which means he's anything but daft himself. He knows full well that lobbing chickenshit, railway sleepers or non-singing fat ladies at a burglar is utterly preposterous: the target ain't going to remain pinned to the spot whilst the firing mechanism is cranked up.

    It's a joke, and a wonderful Pythonesque one at that, though less funny are some of the responses here from posters who, unbelievably, are taking it at face value.

    As to US friends who've commented here, I still remember the culture shock I had on moving to LA in 1976 and discovering that Dennys had an armed guard on the doorstep. Our home was in a pleasant residential area but the realtor advised us that the first thing we needed to get was a sign for the front lawn to match the signs that graced all the other front lawns. So we went to the local DIY and bought one, ready-made and standard issue:


    Worked just fine.

    I certainly don't recall having to kill anyone. Or, well, maybe the odd one or two.

  41. Adam Williamson
    Thumb Down


    "In merry old, you can be sued by thieves if they trip over a carpet in your house while robbing it and hurt themselves..."

    You can be sued by *anyone* for *anything* *anywhere*. The important question is whether the lawsuit actually succeeds. The one you're referring to was thrown out of court about as quickly as it possibly could have been.

  42. John Dougald McCallum
    Thumb Up

    Chicken shit catapult

    "at one point he successfully shot his wife out of a cannon across the River Avon, though unfortunately she rebounded from the safety net on the other side and landed in the water."

    Wrong,Wrong,Wrong I heard the Interview that this Gent gave on the beeb and his wife was fired from a cannon only to land in the River Avon the succesful shot was Via the catapult only she rebounded from the net into the river apparently if he warns them and they still go on his land he can fling this dung at them to his hearts content.

  43. Steve Lubman
    Thumb Up

    Whats Brown and sounds like a bell?


  44. Anonymous Coward

    RE: RE: RE: Reduced to trebuchets?

    Our traditional greeting is hurling human sized lumps of chicken shit from giant siege weapons!

    Joking aside the whole paranoia thing really is a bit pathetic, I recently did let an American service family (in the UK) know they had left their lights on, they acted as though they sincerely believed it was necessary to be armed if you dare venture outside your door after dark in the dangerous leafy suburbs of a quite East Anglian village.........


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