Belfast Telegraph

Police alert to drivers over Pokemon craze

By Allan Preston

Police in Craigavon have issued a warning after a road user was caught trying to catch Pokemon in her car with her little sister while driving along at a dangerously slow 15mph.

The addictive new smartphone game uses street maps of a player's real life location.

Animated Pokemon characters appear on the maps, which a player must physically go to in order to 'catch' them.

Such is the popularity of the game, however, that players have been known to go to extreme lengths to be first on the scene when a so called rare Pokemon appears.

The game is designed for walking speed and won't work if a player is moving too fast.

But fanatical Pokemon fans are trying to beat the system by driving just slowly enough to improve their chances.

A post on the PSNI Craigavon Facebook page yesterday read: "We too are loving trying to 'catch em all' but please folks, be careful.

"I've come across groups of kids out in the dark, cars parked up in weird and wonderful places and the most frightening, someone cruising slowly about in the car because her wee sister wanted to catch some Pokemon."

It continued: "Pokemon Go is not designed to be played from a vehicle that's moving on a road. This is a massive road safety issue, at best, it's careless.

"You can't cruise about the road at 15mph, its far too dangerous folks, regardless of the time of day.

"Have fun, catch as many as you can, and get out and enjoy the good weather while it lasts. And if anyone can tell me where there's a Pikachu (one of the most sought after rare Pokemon) ... it'd be much appreciated."

This is now the second warning Craigavon police have issued after receiving a 999 call about a lost Pokemon last week.

In an exasperated online post they said: "OK, we get it, a lot of people have caught the Pokemon Go bug.

"If you have, great, but a couple of points from ourselves: 'I need help catching this Pokemon' is not really a police matter, and definitely not one for the 999.

"If you find one near a road, look left and right before crossing, rather than staring just at the screen and aimlessly wandering. Pokemon may be virtual reality, but cars are very real, and very sore."

They added: "So, if you're Pokemon Go-ing out in public, please watch where you're going. Don't set your phone down or make yourself a target for pickpockets or thieves.

"Finally, 'But there's a Zubat in there' is not an excuse for breaking into someone's house, or even wandering round their property.

"Make sure you have permission from any property owner before you go hunting."

Belfast Telegraph