Seven strange laws of Britain you must have broken

Have you ever attended a fancy dress party as a police officer, got drunk in a pub, or sang ‘Happy Birthday’ in a restaurant? If the answer to any of them is “yes,” you may have broken the law.

Despite calls to repeal or abolish these old laws, they still exist today.

Here are some weird UK laws you may have broken:

1. Getting Drunk in the Pub

Many people are guilty of having more than one drink in their local, but it is actually a crime to drink alcohol in a pub.

Section 12 of the Licensing Act 1872 states: “Every person found intoxicated in any licensed premises shall be liable to fine”.

If you are found drunk in a pub or any other public place you could in theory be fined £200.

2. Selling alcohol to a drunk person

It is an offense to sell liquor to a drunken or disorderly person.

Under the Licensing Act 2003, a person who sells alcohol to someone under the influence of alcohol can be issued a fixed fine notice by the police of £90, which can be increased to £1,000 if they go to court.

Business property may also face fines and the risk of losing a liquor license if their employees serve customers while intoxicated.

Selling alcohol to a drunk person can lead to a fine.

3. Resting After the Funeral

One of Britain’s harshest and saddest laws states that you are not allowed to stop by after a funeral.

In 2015, a man stayed an additional 20 minutes at the wife’s funeral and was charged £160 so that the gravediggers could continue with their work.

Picture of a coffin.
You are not allowed to stay after the funeral.

4. Impersonating a Police Officer

Dressing up as a police officer or a soldier is breaking the law – whether it’s a fancy dress party or Halloween.

Under the Sailors and Soldiers’ False Characters Act 1906 and the Police Act 1996, it is illegal to impersonate a police officer or member of the armed forces.

If you are caught it could lead to a custodial sentence.

5. Playing ‘Knock Knock Ginger’

Knock Knock Ginger was a popular children’s game that dates back to the 19th century. This involves knocking on someone’s front door and then running away before answering.

The game may seem like a harmless prank, but playing it is breaking the law.

In 1839, it was made illegal to “deliberately and knowingly harass any resident by pulling on any doorbell or by knocking on any door without valid excuse”.

A man is knocking on a door.
Playing ‘Knock Knock Ginger’ was made illegal in 1839.

6. To sound your horn aggressively

In the UK, it is illegal to “aggressively” blow your car horn, even if another driver is acting dangerously. You must have “feasible and reasonable intention” when you use your horn.

If you blow your horn out of frustration or anger, you could be fined £1,000.

Whereas it is also an offense to blow the horn when your car is stopped or in the built-up area between 11.30 pm and 7 am.

Man blowing car horn.
To blow the horn aggressively is to break the law.

7. Driving with a Snowy Windscreen

It is illegal to drive before all the snow is cleared from your entire windscreen, while you can also be fined for failing to clear the snow from the roof of your car before you drive.

This law makes sense because driving with snow on a snowy windscreen or roof can potentially lead to road traffic accidents.

Man removing snow with a scraper from a car window.
Be sure to remove all snow from your car’s windscreen.

These old laws are still in force and although unlikely, you could technically face fines or worse for breaking any of them.

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