Planking - enjoy the fun but stay safe

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THE INTERNET-fuelled craze of planking has reached Montrose and even has its own dedicated Facebook page.

Spread through the social networking site, the fad involves someone lying down on top or in front of an unusual or public place and uploading photos to the Internet.

Although regarded as a bit of fun, the practise has already led to the death of one man in Australia who fell off a seventh floor balcony railing in Brisbane.

The incident event prompted Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard to call for a ban on planking.

Local plankers seem to be taking a more sensible approach, however, and have confined themselves mainly to low levels but in prominent locations such as the High Street, the Mid Links and the swimming pool.

The Facebook page is experiencing a steady stream of visits with Montrosians posting photos of themselves, real and manipulated, for others to comment on.

In other areas safety campaigners issued warnings about the risks of planking after pictures appeared online of a Sunderland man planking on the Wear Bridge. The Scottish Ambulance Service has also said that no-one should be risking their life for what is just a fad.

A spokesman said: “We would always have concerns if people are putting themselves in harm’s way, especially for a craze.

“We would have to deal with any incident but if people are putting themselves at risk then we would be concerned about the potential increase in ambulance calls.”

Local police inspector Gordon Cryle said he had little objection to people planking, as long as it was safe and legal.

He said: “If people want to lie down on a pavement and have their photo taken, I don’t have a problem with that as long as not too many people are having to step over them.

“There doesn’t seem to be a deluge of it but I’ve seen two or three instances recently. There were even a couple of incidents with youths being spotted on the roof of the Links Hotel although it wasn’t confirmed it was planking.

“We have, however, had people lying on cars and car roofs. Whether it’s planking or anything else, if a car is damaged we’ll investigate that as a criminal act and the likelihood is that damage will be caused.

“The message from a safety point of view is that this can be a dangerous pastime and we don’t want anyone doing anything that would put them in a dangerous situation.”