Plankers eh!? - police warning on urban craze which risks lives

One planker sits atop Free Derry Wall.
One planker sits atop Free Derry Wall.

Police have warned those who persue the latest urban craze of ‘Planking’ that they may be putting lives at risk.

Planking is described as lying horizontally in a strange or unusual place with a straightened body and fingers pointing down towards the feet.

Hands across the Plank. Maurice Harron's iconic Derry statue falls victim to the latest youth craze.

Hands across the Plank. Maurice Harron's iconic Derry statue falls victim to the latest youth craze.

Planking practioners often post a picture on a social networking site to boast about their ‘plank’. The craze is thought to have originated in Australia.

Recently Derry has seen a rise in the number of planks taking pictures.

The Free Derry Wall, McDonald’s on Strand Road, a lamppost, even a taxi sign on Bishop Street have all been planked. It is, however, one group’s ability to plank the city’s key cultural attractions which has secured them a following on Facebook.

A group of close friends have launched the ‘Derry City of Planking 2011’ sponsored by ‘Flat to the Matt’ site on the social networking site.

Planking at The Foyle Valley Railway Museum. planking3 1507lm68.JPG

Planking at The Foyle Valley Railway Museum. planking3 1507lm68.JPG

On it they show evidence of their planks on Maurice Harron’s ‘Hands Across The Divide’ and the lights across the River Foyle, amongst other locations. In some of the pictures they are photographed on the roof of local businesses, prompting the police to issue the warning,

The Journal contacted the ‘Flat to the Matt’ group and they explained they had noticed others planking and got into it ‘for a bit of banter’.

“There are about six of us into it and the pictures are just taken on wee random nights out.” said ‘Wee Jay’.

Another member of the group, Stevie Doherty, said; “It isn’t really planned. If we are out and about and see stuff we just jump up on top of it. We’ll see what is next whenever we are out and about.”

When asked about the name of the webpage, Stevie said: “I think it’s a good advertisement for the City Of Culture. It is a different kind of youth culture to the usual drinking isn’t it?”

The friends are all aged between 22 and 23 years-old.

Stevie said: “If anybody else wants to upload a few pics of them planking around Derry, feel free to upload them.”

However a spokeperson for the PSNI said: “Police would like to advise members of the public that although ‘planking’ is not illegal, enthusiasts found lying across public or private property can be charged with either trespassing or obstruction and be liable for prosecution.

“Police would also warn that although many may see the activity as light-hearted fun, it is potentially very dangerous and can not only put the enthusiast’s life at risk but has potential to put the lives of others at risk also.”