Police reveal full extent of crimes involving Pokémon

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Police have revealed for the first time the full extent of crimes involving Pokemon in response to a bizarre freedom of information request.

In one incident, a man out hunting Pokemon in Surrey last July stumbled upon a 30 man punch-up.

The string of offences includes domestic fights in the west Midlands, exposure in west Yorkshire and a number of muggings.

The results came after a freedom of information request by the Liberal Democrats. Former party leader Tim Farron said: “Hearing serious crimes are committed using Pokémon is worrying, especially as a dad with kids who love the game.”

“It clearly shows nothing is 100 per cent safe.”

The smartphone version of the popular Nintendo game that first became a craze in the Nineties sparked a global phenomenon when it was released in June last year.

The app was downloaded more than 10 million times in its first week, creating a milestone for Apple as the tech giant’s most downloaded app. 

Users can chase virtual Pokémon through the real world by superimposing them into real life through their mobile phone. 

But despite the app being hailed for encouraging social interaction, the game has been at the centre of controversy after a spike in Pokémon Go-related crimes.

Data released to the BBC in July last year revealed 290 incidents involved Pokémon Go players, including robberies, thefts, assaults and driving offences.

Meanwhile, officers in north Wales discovered a man had invited children back to his home “as he had lots of Pokémon at his address”, the BBC reported. 

The Pokémon Go game also led to police issuing safety advice to gamers last year, which included being aware of surroundings and not to catch Pokemon while driving.

Of the incident last July, Surrey police said: “Someone who happened to be out Pokemon hunting when they saw an unrelated altercation. The incident did not involve people hunting Pikachu, Charizard, Squirtle, or any other fictional collectable pocket monster.”

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