Future of the UK: Police confront granny who put ‘racially offensive’ gorilla in window– even though no one complained
For years, knitting fanatic Anne Feast has entertained local children with quirky displays of handmade animals in her front window.
But when she put a gorilla there, police went, well…bananas.
Two police community support officers knocked on her door and told the pensioner there had been a complaint about the ‘black body’, warning her that it was a ‘potentially racially offensive object’.
The grandmother-of-two said that even after she had pointed out that it was merely a knitted gorilla called Cilla, she was asked to take it down – a demand she ignored.
But now it appears the officers had invented the complaint, with their force insisting they acted on their own initiative after spotting the toy during a routine patrol.
Mrs Feast, 70, said: ‘Two police officers, a man and a woman, knocked on the door at about 7.30pm.
‘They told me they needed to speak to me about the “black body” hanging in my window.
‘I said “Pardon? Do you mean the baby gorilla?” to which they replied “Ah, that’s what it is, is it?”. They said the gorilla had offended a passer-by and that I needed to take it down.
‘I told them there was no way I was taking it down and to be honest I basically closed the door in their face. I was so shocked.’
She added: ‘I wish I’d asked them what the person had found so offensive but I was too angry. I presume it was either the way she was hanging or the fact Cilla is black, both of which are, quite frankly, pathetic.
‘The police haven’t been back since and everyone I’ve told can’t believe it.
’I can’t believe someone would be so sad as to take offence to a woollen toy, let alone reporting it to police. I’m sure the police have more important things to worry about.’
Mrs Feast knits as a hobby and has two suitcases full of her creations.
She always keeps one on display in the front window of the home in Ely, Cambridgeshire, that she has lived in with husband Philip, 71, for 14 years, and changes them regularly.
The retired bank customer service adviser came across the design for Cilla the gorilla last year and had changed her position in the window a few times, arranging her in different poses. ‘It’s absolutely ridiculous. It’s not racist at all – gorillas are black. I couldn’t make a white one,’ she added.
After the police visit, Mrs Feast’s husband, a retired lorry driver, made a poster to put in their front window appealing for the offended passer-by to speak to them.
It said: ‘Are you the person/persons that made a complaint to police about the knitted toy?
‘Well why don’t you knock on our door and tell us face-to-face what your concerns were about this toy? These toys usually bring a smile to most people’s faces – especially kiddies.
‘I am so looking forward to seeing your face but it’s not going to happen is it?’
But now it seems there wasn’t a complaint after all. A spokesman for Cambridge Police said: ‘The police did not receive any calls from members of the public about this.
‘Instead, while out on patrol two PCSOs saw an object hanging from a window which they thought might be seen as a potentially racially offensive object.
‘The officers were unsure as to what the object was so knocked on the door of the home and asked the woman what it was. After establishing that the object was, in fact, a handmade knitted gorilla and nothing offensive the officers left and carried on their patrols.
‘At no point was the woman asked to remove the gorilla from her window.’