Police seeking planking prankster
CENTRAL Highlanders have ignored the potential dangers of the latest fad and have jumped on the planking bandwagon.
Plankers have been posting photos on the Facebook group Emerald Planking as recently as yesterday morning, despite the death of 20-year-old former Central Queensland man Acton Beale on Sunday.
Emerald police have slammed the act and are warning residents if they are caught in dangerous or illegal situations, they will be prosecuted.
The warning followed a tip received by police that a man was photographed planking on a police vehicle, believed to be in Emerald.
“Police have a photograph of the offenders and if it has occurred in Emerald, as suspected, and if the offenders are located, they will be charged,” Sergeant Terry McCullough said.
“Police call for commonsense to be utilised by all persons considering planking.”
To do a successful plank, and therefore become a planker, you must lie face down in a weird, funny or dangerous place long enough to be photographed.
Then, the photo must be uploaded onto social media, such as Facebook.
Marty Corfield, whose 14-year-old son Willis planked his boat in the driveway of their Emerald home, said he didn’t mind the practice if his son performed the act in a responsible and safe way.
“I think he (Willis) is sensible enough not to do it in a stupid place,” Mr Corfield said.
“People will take different risks.
“I’ve told him, even if he does it on different things and if he falls off, he’s going to hurt himself and it’s his own fault.”
Mr Corfield said Willis, who uploaded his plank on the Facebook site, knew it could be illegal if he was caught planking in some areas, but for the most part, it was just a bit of fun.
“He was practising at home on a hotwater flask yesterday and failing pretty badly,” he said.
“It’s like with anything – certain people will go over the boundaries.”
Gladstone police last week charged a 20-year-old Gladstone man with one count of being on a police establishment without a lawful excuse.
It is alleged he was found planking on a police vehicle and was issued a notice to appear in court.
Police advised people caught in dangerous planking situations could also be charged for conducting an Unauthorised High Risk Activity.
The Emerald Planking Facebook group may have only 371 fans, but already there were photos posted on the site of people planking in various places.
One photo showed a boy on top of a shade shelter at the Morton Park skate park on Dundas St.
Another showed a man planking on a police vehicle while two others watched on.
Sgt McCullough said it was hoped Sunday’s fatality would “serve as a warning to others”.
“We would discourage people from doing this behaviour on police vehicles,” he said.
“You can be charged with public nuisance, being found unlawfully on a police establishment/vehicle, and if you damage whatever it is, you can be charged with wilful damage.
“They are criminal offences, and you can be sent to court.”
Deputy Commissioner Ross Barnett said police held grave fears the planking craze could result in more injuries and further deaths as the fad spread around the country.
“Accepting a risk of injury to yourself is one thing, but the potential is there for others to be injured as a result of your behaviour,” he said.
“If other people break the law during this activity they will be charged as well.”
Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Monday weighed in on the fad, and described the death of 20-year-old Beale, who plunged seven storeys to his death at a Kangaroo Point apartment block in Brisbane, as “really tragic”.
“There’s a difference between a harmless bit of fun done somewhere that’s really safe and taking a risk with your life,” Ms Gillard said.
“Everybody likes a bit of fun but focus has to be on keeping yourself safe first.”