Police in Barnstaple have ‘arrested’ several well known local people as part of a charity Jail Break to raise funds for North Devon Hospice.

This fictional police operation took place on Thursday 23 March 2023 and saw guests rounded up at the charity’s base in the town before they were taken under police escort to the cells at Barnstaple Police Station.

The pretend ‘offenders’ were then booked into custody and had to spend time locked up behind bars – but it was all for a good cause.     

The list of ‘naughty’ guests included Barnstaple local Mayor Councillor Louisa York, Cllr Julie Hunt, Cllr Pru Maskell; as well as Tarka radio presenters Lisa Hanson and Keith Turner plus some local residents and businessmen who wanted to take part and support the charity were also involved.

Superintendent Toby Davies, North & West Devon Local Policing Lead for Devon & Cornwall Police, was on hand to meet the visitors going into custody.

Supt Davies said: “We were more than happy to host this event for such a good cause and hope that the North Devon Hospice has raised lots of much needed cash. 

“Our ‘naughty’ guests mostly behaved themselves, albeit we had to keep a closer eye on a couple!  Everyone seemed to enjoy the experience and my thanks to the police staff who supported the event in their own time.” 

The public were encouraged to bid money to release the ‘suspects’ who were let out of the cells on Thursday afternoon (without charge). All the police officers involved were taking part in their own time as volunteers because they wanted to help.

Lisa Mackenzie, Events Manager at North Devon Hospice in Deer Park, said: “At a time when the need for hospice care has never been higher, the funds raised from this Jail Break will help local people get care and support in their time of need.

“Currently, the hospice is caring for more people than ever before. The demand has risen dramatically since the pandemic, as more and more local people are facing the impact of a life-limiting illness like cancer,”

Lisa added: “At the same time, donations to the charity have also dropped significantly in this economic climate. So the amazing ‘prisoners’ taking part in Jail Break will be making a real difference with the funds they have raised. Every pound pledged will make sure someone in our community can get the care they need in their darkest hour.”

“We are so grateful to all who have made this Jail Break event possible, including the team from Barnstaple Police Station who kindly ‘locked up’ our participants in their cells for a truly authentic experience! It really was a fun day.”

Donations to the hospice welcome.