Shoes over power lines – a prank or something more sinister?

Shoes at Hardwick Lane, Bury St Edmunds Picture: ARCHANT

Shoes at Hardwick Lane, Bury St Edmunds Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

Mystery surrounds the presence of shoes and trainers over power and telephone lines across various locations in Bury St Edmunds.

Shoes over power and telephone wires in Bury St Edmunds have been causing a stir in the town Picture

Shoes over power and telephone wires in Bury St Edmunds have been causing a stir in the town Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

The incidents have baffled residents of the attractive Suffolk town, with footwear appearing on overhead cables in places such as Mustow Street, Northgate Street, Fornham Road, Mildenhall Road and Hardwick Lane.

Since the shoes have appeared, rumours have been circulating among residents regarding the reason behind the behaviour.

One common held belief is that shoes over power lines indicate drug dealing territories.

While others believe the act of dangling shoes is purely trivial and is done as a prank.

Police say they do not believe the shoes signal any drug dealing or criminal behaviour Picture: ARCH

Police say they do not believe the shoes signal any drug dealing or criminal behaviour Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant


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The internet is rife with explanations of what the practice represents.

Suffolk police said they are aware of the incidents but do not believe the shoes are "indicative of drug dealing or other criminality".

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Locality inspector for Bury St Edmunds Matt Paisley said police are working to remove the shoes.

"We are aware of the presence of shoes and trainers appearing over power lines in and around Bury St Edmunds," he said.

"Enquiries have been carried out and there is nothing currently to suggest that the presence is indicative of any drug dealing or other criminality.

"We are working with our partners to ensure these items are removed from public visibility in a timely manner."

Inspector Paisley added there was no "cause for concern" over the presence of shoes.

"At this time, there is no cause for concern regarding this activity, but we ask the public to be vigilant and to report any suspicious activity in their communities by reporting an incident via the constabulary's website or by calling 101," he added.

The practice is believed to have started in Los Angeles, where it indicated gang territories and "patches" or prime drug dealing spots.

The American city even underwent a lengthy removal process in 2003 when residents voiced concerns about the activity.

Closer to home, incidents have been reported in various places across Britain.

A tree in Soham, Cambridgeshire, was decorated with shoes in 2017, prompting questions from baffled people in the town.

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