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Last Updated: Friday, 18 January 2008, 13:10 GMT
Pantomime gun must be registered
A Cornish village drama group has had to register a toy gun with the police to comply with health and safety rules.

Carnon Downs drama group in Cornwall have also had to keep their plastic cutlasses and wooden swords locked up for the pantomime, Robinson Crusoe.

Producers of the show called the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) rules "farcical".

A spokesman for the HSE said the rules were designed to make risks "sensibly managed".

It gets a bit farcical when you are dealing with plastic swords
Linda Barker
The climax of the show is a fight in which actors use replica 4ft long plastic cutlasses.

There is also a toy gun which produces a flag saying "Bang".

The directors contacted police after receiving advice from the HSE and the National Operatic and Dramatic Association.

The HSE have a page on their website called Entertainment Information Sheet 20 which lays down strict rules for the handling of guns, swords and other weapons on set.

Drama group co-director Linda Barker said: "The cutlasses count as weapons even though they are replicas and made of plastic and apparently they could be mistaken for real ones.

"Our only gun was a panto pistol which produces a flag with the word bang on it.

"Our local police at Truro were fantastic and they have registered the gun, the two plastic cutlasses and our six wooden swords."

She added: "It gets a bit farcical when you are dealing with plastic swords. It is not as if anyone is likely to be scared by them."

Neighbourhood beat officer Pc Nigel Hyde said: "We have been informed and made a note.

"It seems a bit unusual but other forms of replica weapons have been used to carry out crimes and the consequences have been serious."

A spokesman for the HSE said: "We do not want to stop people putting on pantos or having fun as long as the risks are sensibly managed."

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