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10 of the strangest UK laws

Have you ever been drunk in a pub? Have you activated your burglar alarm without nominating someone to switch it off in your absence? You have broken the law!


The legal system in the UK has derived from centuries of law creation, alteration and destruction. This results in there being pieces of legislation still existing today from their creation as early as the 1300s.


Christopher Sargeant, a PhD student at Cambridge University, has spent two months analysing British laws and putting together a list of the strangest UK laws that are in force today.


  1. All beached whales and sturgeons must be offered to the Reigning Monarch
  2. No person shall, in the course of a business, import into England, potatoes which he knows, or has reasonable cause to suspect, are from Poland
  3. It is illegal to be drunk in a pub
  4. It is illegal to carry a plank along a pavement (as well as any ladder, wheel, pole, cask, placard, showboard, or hoop) in the Metropolitan Police District
  5. MPs are not allowed to wear armour in Parliament
  6. It is an offence to be drunk and in charge of cattle in England and Wales
  7. It is illegal to handle a salmon in suspicious circumstances
  8. It is an offence to beat or shake any carpet, rug or mat (except door mats before 8am) in a thoroughfare in the Metropolitan Police District
  9. It is illegal to jump the queue in the Tube ticket hall
  10. It is illegal to activate your burglar alarm without first nominating a ‘Key-Holder’ who can switch it off in your absence


Source: The Independent, 2016.

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