Halloween, eggs and the beaning craze: police urge shopkeepers to watch out for odd food purchases in Mid Sussex

Mid Sussex Police have asked shopkeepers to watch out for unusual food purchases in the run-up to Halloween and as the craze of ‘beaning’ becomes popular.

Wednesday, 29th September 2021, 4:44 pm

This odd social media trend involves children and young people filming themselves emptying tins of baked beans on someone’s doorstep, mainly in TikTok videos.

It can also mean smearing beans on people’s cars, windows, front doors or driveways, leaving the victims to clean up the mess.

Mid Sussex Neighbourhood Policing Inspector Darren Taylor said one 73-year-old East Grinstead resident had two tins worth of beans smeared on her front door in September.

Mid Sussex Neighbourhood Policing Inspector Darren Taylor

“Thankfully, we haven’t seen an increase in incidents,” he said.

But Inspector Taylor is still asking retailers to be ‘robust’ and to challenge anyone buying unusual food quantities or foods they might not normally buy.

“I’m not stereotyping but if a young adult comes in and buys three boxes of eggs, it’s worth questioning it,” he said.

Inspector Taylor said vigilance is especially important around Halloween because some people use the celebration to pelt homes with food.

“Last year we had some houses, vehicles or gardens that had eggs and flour thrown at them,” he said.

“Okay, you can wash it down, but speaking to some residents last year it’s just not acceptable,” he added.

Inspector Taylor said police get occasional reports throughout the year about people throwing food – mainly eggs – at properties for a variety of reasons.

But he said around Halloween some people throw food as a ‘trick’ if the occupant of house does not want to give them a ‘treat’.

“As we’re heading towards Halloween, it can be really good fun and the costumes can be great,” said Inspector Taylor.

“However, we must remember that not everybody’s into it,” he said.

“If somebody doesn’t want to give a treat at the door, it doesn’t mean you splatter their house with eggs or flour, or baked beans as the craze may be now.”

He added that not everyone finds this funny and some people can be distressed by it.

Inspector Taylor said he first heard about the ‘beaning’ craze through a colleague after two separate incidents in Mid Sussex.

“I was totally perplexed in regards to why anybody would want to dump beans on somebody’s doorstep,” he said.

“But of course we now know it’s a silly craze or a silly notion that has been doing the rounds on TikTok.”

“I don’t personally see what you get out of it in any shape or form apart from wasting everybody’s time,” he added.

Inspector Taylor said the act counts as criminal damage – a non-permanent criminal damage offence – because people have to spend time and money cleaning the mess away.

“You’ve got criminal damage at the very least,” he said, adding that if someone is targeted more than once it can be considered harassment, which is a serious offence.

Inspector Taylor advised those considering throwing food products to ‘just be mindful’.

“What you think could be a prank could get you in hot water and could end up with a criminal conviction out the back of it,” he said.