A father’s Halloween prank backfired after officers came to investigate reports of a ‘kidnapped’ man hanging from the back of his van – before they realised it was just a plastic arm and leg.

Darren Houlker (49) was driving to Urmston, Greater Manchester, and had forgotten that the alarming decorations were actually lodged between his white van’s doors. 

The father-of-two was stunned to see a police officer at his home through the Ring app. He ran home and a concerned officer informed him that they were investigating a kidnapping.

The father prankster has bought police tape to go around his van so he can now be even more effective in spooking people

To be more effective in spooking people, the father prankster purchased police tape to wrap his van. 

Grinning, Mr Houlker asked the officer for a check of the van. He laughed when he saw the officer and radioed to his colleagues to ‘all sit down’. 

The father-prankster even bought crime tape to wrap his van so that he can scare people all weekend. His Facebook post about this incident has received more than three hundred thousand shares. 

The father-of-2 from Urmston in Greater Manchester said that it was all a bit ridiculous. It’s likely that the person who called it in should go to Specsavers. 

Mr Houlker (pictured), 49, spooked a worried motorist with his Halloween decorations

He forgot he left the prosthetic limbs on his van when he drove off to visit his father

Darren Houlker (49) said that the concerned 999 caller must be a motorist, as his neighbours ‘know what he looks like’ 

“It’s a little joke that I do. Normally I keep it in my vehicle, but this time I thought I’d take it with me to my van since I’m not using it this week.

“I went to my dad’s house to drop off some things, but I forgot about it.”

“On the way back, I stopped at my brother’s house and heard sirens. I thought “what’s the matter?” Then my Ring app pinged and I saw police outside my front door.

Mr Houlker's Facebook post to business page Jmh Leisure has since been liked more than 1,800 times and gained more than 853 comments.

The Facebook post of Mr Houlker to Jmh Leisure’s business page has been liked over 1,800 times and received over 853 comments. 

“I was concerned because I didn’t know if my partner called them, so I flew home. I asked him what the matter was, and he replied “we’ve received a report regarding kidnapping”.

I just said “mate, look at the back of this van.”

“He closed his eyes, looked up at the heavens, and said, “Everybody, please stand down, it’s an artificial arm and leg.” They must have done a thorough police search for me.

Mr Houlker said he was shocked when he saw a police officer at his house through the Ring app so he rushed home

Mr Houlker claimed that he was shocked to find a policeman at his house via the Ring app. He ran home immediately.

He couldn’t help but laugh. He said that it was “one of the most rewarding jobs I’ve ever had.”

“It probably made him day. It was hilarious. It was funny because I only had it there that morning.

“The officer stated that the caller had said it was like someone was bundled into the van. But you’d be driving erratically, if that were the case. I was driving normal.

“Because it had been windy, I thought the arm and leg were moving as I drove down the road. This probably contributed to the problem. Someone behind must have believed that someone was asking them for help.

“The prank worked perfectly, but I wasn’t expecting it to go so far. It was fun, though it may have gone too far. This hasn’t stopped me from driving. I’ll take it with me on the drive.


The post gained more than 1,800 likes and more than 853 amused comments with people expressing their disbelief that the police was called

The post received more than 1,800 likes, more than 853 amused comment and people disbelieving that the police was called. 

Mr Houlker stated that the concerned 999 caller may have been a motorist as his neighbours “know what he’s about” because they’ve seen him insert the plastic limbs into his car in the past.

Mollie Houlker (9 years old) and Jack Houlker (13 years old), own a bouncy castle rental company. Michelle Wood (44) insists that he will have to think of a better way to do next year’s prank.

His Facebook post to Jmh Leisure has been liked more than 1,800 time and received more than 853 comments.

The bouncy castle hire firm owner who lives with his two children and partner even insists he'll have to think of how to go 'one better' with next year's prank

The owner of a bouncy castle rental company lives with his children and partner. He insists that he will have to think of a way to make next year’s prank even better.

The post said that ‘I HONESTLY DO NOT BELIEVE IT !!!!!’ Someone has phoned the police because they thought someone was being kidnapped in my van, how f**king stupid are some people. Glad that the copper saw the funny side.

User Kyle joked that Kyle left half of his body hanging out of the boot after kidnapping someone.

Steven Davies said, “Unfortunately that’s how the world is.” Too many KARENS running around for my taste.

Claire Radford commented: “Brilliant. f*king hilarious. They can’t be in the Halloween spirit.

Greater Manchester Police has been reached out for comment.