A teenager has described the terrifying moment he was met with a man wearing a “gimp suit”.
The 19-year-old was apporached by the “freaky” man at around 12.25am on Tuesday in Cleeve, North Somerset.
So-called “gimp suits” are a full, dark bodysuit and face covering and are often worn at Halloween.
The teen, who wished to remain anonymous, described the man as “unpredictable, flopping to the floor, writhing and grunting”.
A man in his 30s has been arrested on suspicion of causing a public nuisance and has since been released on bail, the BBC reports.
“I don’t want this guy to be seen as a bogey man… but this kind of thing, this invisible threat that he could be anywhere… it’s indirectly causing fear,” he said.
“It’s not just about the encounter, but the effect it has in waves through the community. It’s quite gut-wrenching.
“His outfit was shiny with some sort of liquid and he was glistening in the torchlight and he smelt really earthy. After he had gone… you could still smell it.”
He initially thought the man was drunk because of the way he was writhing on the floor.
However, the teen, who was also with a friend at the time, said the suited man then flopped on the floor after stepping onto the pavement nearby.
The man was said to be wearing blue latex gloves and a dark bodysuit from head to toe, which was covered in mud.
The teenager thinks some people could be left “psychologically damaged” if they saw the same thing, with the pair initially worried for their safety.
Avon and Somerset Police has since said it was “keeping an open mind about the intentions of the man and whether the incident is linked to any others”.
Similar incidents of a man in a gimp suit had previously been reported in the nearby villages of Claverham and Yatton in 2019, 2021 and earlier this year.
Acting Insp Lee Kerslake said officers “are determined to identify the individual or individuals responsible and stop them”.
Conditions of the man’s bail include that he must remain home between 9pm and 6am and present to a police officer on request.