A grubby, homeless Santa Claus-lookalike has been arrested at his camp close to Exeter’s main campus for the possession of offensive weapons, including a machete.
Police with dogs were called yesterday morning after reports of a man wielding a machete near the Streatham campus.
The unnamed oddball, 63, was found to be in possession of a host of bladed tools including axes, saws, knives and a machete.
The homeless man is thought to have set up a camp in the wooded area off the public footpath between Velwell Road and Prince of Wales Road. Many students use the path, only dimly lit at night, as a route to University.
Disgustingly, when police approached the man he was in the middle of defecating.
Witnessing the arrest, The Tab also saw what appeared to be a syringe being taken off the camper.
An officer present during the arrest told The Tab the police have been watching the man for a long time, but have not had any grounds on which to arrest him.
The police expressed concern regarding the man’s mental health, but said he did not seem to be a danger to the public.
The arrest took place at the entrance to the public footpath at the top of Velwell Road, an area of student housing.
The beardy weirdy has been somewhat of a cult hero around campus for several years. Exeter graduate Andrew Taggart, who lived in Hope Hall, told The Tab: “In my first year a mate of mine got in trouble with campus security for dressing up as that guy. He’s been around forever and used to just wander round the outside of my halls.”
In a statement, the police said: “At 9.30am [on] Wednesday 7 November 2012 police attended the footpath in Velwell Road, Exeter, near to the university cricket pitch following reports of a man with a machete. Officers, including a dog handler attended and spoke with him and found that he was in possession of a number of bladed tools, including axes, saws and the machete.
“These were siezed by police and a 63 year old man was arrested. He is presently detained at Exeter Police Station. No members of the public were threatened by the man and no one was injured. Police are reminding people to report any suspicious behaviour to them at the time it is happening and are pleased that this call was made.”