Lancashire Pokemon hunters warned over crimes

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Police in Lancashire have issued a fresh safety alert after the county was named as the worst in England and Wales for crimes related to the gaming craze Pokemon Go.

Lancashire Constabulary dealt with 39 reports of Pokemon-related crimes during July – the highest of 29 forces in England and Wales.

People should avoid potentially dangerous locations that could make you vulnerable to injury, or become a victim of crime

And the figures have prompted senior officers to warn gamers out hunting Pokemon characters about the dangers they could be facing.

“People should avoid potentially dangerous locations that could make you vulnerable to injury, or become a victim of crime,” said a spokesman at the Constabulary’s headquarters in Hutton.

The game, which is played on mobile phones using satellite navigation, was only officially launched in the UK in July. Yet in its first month it was involved in at least 290 police incidents including robbery, assault, trespass and motoring offences. Players use their cameras, overlayed with graphics, to catch digital creatures.

Of the 29 police forces who responded to a Freedom of Information request, Lancashire had the highest number of crimes.

No details were released of of offences committed or arrests made. But police across the country say Pokemon Go players have not only been victims, but also perpetrators of crime or anti-social behaviour.

In Surrey police say they were called out to a brawl involving 30 people on a Pokemon hunt. In North Wales a man was reported for inviting children into his home saying he had “lots of Pokemons” in the house.

In London and Greater Manchester robbers set up traps to lure players into an area to rob them of their phones.

Drivers in various parts of the country have been caught playing the game at the wheel, while British Transport Police reported at least two cases of children trespassing on the railway looking for the digital characters.

The Lancashire Police spokesman advised players not to trespass or put themselves in any risk while using the game.

“Never enter any water. Pokemon do not appear beyond the safety of the shoreline.

“ And don’t enter derelict structures, unlit footpaths or alleyways,” he said. “Please remember to be safe and alert at all times, don’t drive and play, and respect the locations you visit.”