The recent worldwide phenomenon Geocaching, has caused a scandal in the UK.
Geocaching, which is described as a treasure seeking game in which participants use social media and global positioning systems in order to locate caches which contain small trinkets, has landed an English resident in hot water after a local woman thought his hidden geocache was a bomb.
Karen Brittain, owner of a local coffee shop in Wetherby, North Yorkshire was scared last week after she mistakenly thought a concealed geocache was a potential bomb. Residents feared the bomb might have been the work of a terrorist according to Time.
Brittain called authorities after she saw a man hiding a small, plastic box under a public garbage bin and then walking away quickly. According to Time, Brittain had never heard of Geocaching and assumed the worst.
Police quickly sealed off the area, evacuated residents and looked around for the sealed container. A robot was even brought in to destroy what rumored bomb. Although residents of Wetherby thought the cache to be a bomb, caches usually consists of a small logbook and small trinkets for other treasure hunters to share with each other.
The geocacher, whose name is unknown, was not arrested but told not to hide caches in questionable locations in the future.
According to the official Geocaching website the person in question broke the rules of the game which states that, “People are all ages seek caches, so geocaches should think carefully before placing an item into a cache.” The website also suggest that all treasure hunters carefully hide and locate their caches out of the view of “muggles”, a term used in the Harry Potter book series which means “non-magical people” and in this case, means people who are not familiar with the game.
This has not been the first time a geocache was mistaken for a bomb. According to the Tahoe Daily Tribune, a similar occurrence happened last year at Harrah’s Lake in Tahoe. The local bomb squad was called to the area after a package was noticed duct-taped to a pipe. The package was later identified as a geocache.
Geocaching.com says that there are currently over five million geocaches active worldwide. The game has over four million users worldwide with users of all age ranges. While most caches are hidden in easy to find spots, there are others that are hidden underwater and other difficult terrain.