Mime artist who went berserk at heckler during LIVE BBC broadcast explains why he launched foul-mouthed rant

July 19, 2017
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A mime artist has spoken out after he broke out of character and launched a foul-mouthed rant at a heckler in the street during a live BBC broadcast.

Ricky Carter, 32, who has been posing as a statue in Leicester on occasions over the past five years, says he was accused of ‘taking money from the homeless’.

The 32-year-old artist, dressed in a silver suit and a pink feather hat, was filmed berating a heckler on Monday as a policewoman tried to keep them apart.

He was caught on camera shouting “f*** off” as BBC reporter Amy Harris was interviewing a police community support officer just yards away from the scene of the dispute.

She had been asking questions about a police crackdown on beggars in Leicester.

Ricky said he and the man spoke afterwards and ‘made up’

Explaining why he confronted the man, Ricky claimed to the Leicester Mercury : “He approached me in an aggressive and threatening manner.

“I was just standing still as I do. He was mouthing off at me. He asked why I am allowed to do this when beggars can get arrested.

“He was trying to have an argument with me.

“He said I was taking money from homeless people.

“I got angry with him and then I walked away.”

Ricky said he and the man spoke afterwards and “made up”.

A policewoman can be seen in the background trying to separate the mime artist and the heckler
(Image: BBC East Midlands Today)

He added: “We spoke later that day and he said sorry.

“He said he’d just had a bad day.

“It was a really bad day for me too. I didn’t make very much money and my girlfriend had an argument with me when I got home.”

In the footage, Harris can be heard asking the officer the question: “What is to stop beggars coming back after the 48-hour period?”.

However, as she does so, Ricky yells “go away” in the background.

He is then filmed standing in the street, with his arms outstretched, apparently growing more irate by the second.

He and the heckler, wearing a black T-shirt and grey trousers, appear to be separated by a policewoman.

Reporter Amy Harris was mid-way through a report about a crackdown on beggars in Leicester when expletive-laden shouts were heard from nearby
(Image: BBC East Midlands Today)

Cutting short the interview Harris said: “Oh, thank you very much. I do apologise for the noise in the background but there will be much more on this story.”

As the news segment returns to the studio more angry screams of “go away, f*** off” can be heard on air.

Once back in the studio, the news anchor says: “Apologies again for any bad language you may have heard in that live report from Leicester.”

Ricky is a regular sight in the city centre and explained that he is working as a ‘silver man’ in an attempt to clear debts he has with a pawn broker.

Buskers and other street performers are able to collect money in public places as long as they are not selling anything directly.

Ricky is working as a ‘silver man’ in an attempt to clear debts he has with a pawn broker

Licenses are required to take money for items or when raising money for charity.

The 1824 Vagrancy Act essentially illegalises begging and describes this as a person “placing himself or herself in any public place, street, highway, court, or passage, to beg or gather alms”

Homeless people can sometimes also be moved from public places under Section 35 of the Anti-Social Crime and Policing Act 2014.

This allows a police officer to disperse individuals or groups causing or likely to cause anti-social behaviour in public places or common areas of private land.

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