When an enterprising Police Scotland officer condemned an outbreak of criminality following sightings of a “strange yellow object” in a usually grey, cloud-covered sky, little did he expect anyone to heed his warning.
But a light-hearted reprimand of west of Scotland males partaking in the timeless tradition of “taps aff” in temperate weather has gone viral.
In the space of just three days, the mock appeal by the force’s Lanarkshire division has been shared thousands of times on social media, prompting a good natured debate over when, or if, the practice of going barechested in public is acceptable.
The Facebook post, written by an officer on Friday evening, noted that the force had received “numerous worrying reports of a bizarre side effect following the continuing presence of a strange yellow object in the sky all week”.
It added: “It would appear that some men have gone topless in clear contravention of Lanarkshire bylaws, which explicitly restrict the practice to ‘Taps aff at 20’.
“This reckless disregard for such an ancient rule has resulted in poor witnesses complaining of symptoms including shock, speechlessness and nausea.
“Gentlemen - please respect the law and keep taps oan. Failure to do so will result in your immediate referral to our colleagues in Fashion Division.”
Last night, the missive, issued after a few days of unexpectedly fine weather over the central belt, had been shared by Facebook users more than 2,700 times, with upwards of 7,500 people liking it.
It has also spawned hundreds of droll comments from people around the world, many of whom made clear the trend of stripping off in balmy weather, though legal, is as offputting as it is ubiquitous.
One social media user, Jason Mitchell, noted: “I’m afraid this is a national problem. There have been several sightings of Taps Aff in Dumfries over the last few days.”
A spokesman for Police Scotland said: “We encourage local policing teams to engage with the communities they serve through relevant and appropriate content.
“Clearly, this post seems to have gathered a lot of positive feedback.” As a result of the post, we hope more people are following and engaging with the content on the page as a whole.”