'˜I'M SORRY': joker's apology after obscene Christmas lights spark outrage
Steve McGawley, 43, used fairy lights to draw a penis along with an obscene word on the front wall of his Rodwell Walk home in Grange Park, Blackpool.
He later removed the obscenity and used the lights to draw a picture of a bell, accompanied by the word ‘end’.
He was arrested on Monday after refusing to take down the ‘offensive’ display, in an exchange with police that he filmed and later posted on social media.
Now - in typical festive form - he has issued his apologies to neighbours by spelling out the words ‘I’m sorry’ in lights outside his home.
In the video showing his arrest, a male police officer can be heard saying: “You can either take it down or you can be charged with a public order offence.”
Mr McGawley initially refused to answer the door to the police as he said he did not have any clothes on, but agreed to meet with them face to face after the two officers threatened to forcibly enter his home.
A female police officer can then be heard saying: “Why don’t you put some clothes on?”, to which he replied: “What for?”
He added: “I’m not taking the lights down. It’s too late to take them down. I’ve took them down I don’t know how many times now.”
He then denied the lights on his wall depicted a penis, and insisted the decorations were ‘festive’. After around 10 minutes of arguing, Mr McGawley was placed under arrest.
The lights attracted mixed reactions from local people after pictures of the display were posted on social media.
John Madden commented: “It is unacceptable; children will go past this house and see this and think this is acceptable. It isn’t.”
Peter Allen-Rogers said: “What does amaze me is some people find this acceptable.
“If this was my neighbour it wouldn’t be up for long. What is the point of it? All it does is show how low morality in this country can go. A lack of respect for neighbours and people in general.”
However, some people saw the funny side, with one amused onlooker even suggesting setting up a fund-raiser to pay Mr McGawley’s fine on his behalf. Ric Hulme said: “I think it’s quite creative.
“If you have your kids up late enough to see them lit up then you’re a bad parent. Watershed for decorations should be a thing. After hours then you can’t complain.”
Nigel James Proffitt said: “We should do a whip around for his fine. Its £90; if everyone who was so annoyed at it put in £10 and those that loved it put in £1 we’d soon be there.”
A police spokesman said: “On Monday, December 19, officers attended an address on Rodwell Walk following a number of complaints in relation to fairy lights on the outside of the house. Despite attempts to engage with the occupant the lights were not taken down and a 43-year-old man from Blackpool was arrested on suspicion of a public order offence and issued with a penalty notice for disorder.”
They added that further action could be taken if they received any more complaints.