Bradford mystery: Man dressed as Batman hands over suspect to police

The Caped Crusader's identity remains a mystery

It was the stuff of comic book fantasy. Batman returns to a British city clutching his prey by the scruff of the neck as he delivers him into the hands of a grateful police force telling an astonished desk sergeant: “I’ve caught this one for you” before stalking off into the night.

Yet hopes that the Caped Crusader was once more singlehandedly cleaning up Gotham City – or in this case Bradford city – may not have been quite what they seemed.

A West Yorkshire Police community Facebook site revealed images of someone dressed as the celebrated superhero as he handed over a 27-year-old man wanted in connection with a series of alleged crimes including handling stolen goods, fraud related offences and breaching a court order.

The images prompted an international Twitter storm and global media follow up as the public proved that their love of the moral certainties embodied by the masked vigilante – albeit one who had grown a little paunchy since his last big screen outing - remained undimmed more than 70 years after his DC Comics debut.

TV news crews were soon encamped outside Trafalgar House police station in Bradford where the extraordinary handover occurred in the early hours of the morning on 25 February. One media organisation even sent along their own journalist donning the celebrated grey and black uniform in a bid to enliven proceedings.

Meanwhile reporters were dispatched to the nearby Butterworth estate in a bid to track down the illusive and modest crime fighter.

But police would only confirm that the 27-year-old man was due to appear before Bradford magistrates on Friday following his arrest.

“The person who brought the wanted man into the station was dressed in a full Batman outfit. His identity, however, remains unknown,” a spokesman said.

However it emerged that the 27-year-old was responding to an earlier social media appeal by the Bradford South division of the West Yorkshire Police to give himself up prompting speculation that Batman was rather better known to his “quarry” than some might have hoped.

Bradford South neighbourhood inspector Alan Rhees-Cooper that officers had made diligent inquiries in the local community to locate the 27 year-old man. “This often leads to members of the community assisting the police or to the individual themselves voluntarily attending the police station to speak to the police,” he said.

Officers had been visiting friends and relatives of the man, who was also wanted in connection with an offence in Grimsby, prior to him giving himself up.

Police community support officers gamely conceded the joke was on them.

“Ultimately Batman beat us to the punch...... Until Next time Batman, Until Next time!!!” said one. “No assistance from Robin he was outside keeping the Batmobile running we believe,” said another.

Bradford West Respect MP George Galloway said: “Contrary to rumours sweeping Gotham, I am not the Bradford Batman, However I take my hat off to him and wish him luck in the future.”

The city’s Labour Council Leader David Green warned the public not to take the law into their own hands. “I have yet to see a torched Batman image on the night sky above Bradford,” he said.

”Clearly, whoever this individual is has a good sense of humour and a sense of the surreal. I think it shows the quirkiness that we have all come to love about Bradford,“ he added.

Bishop of Bradford Rt Rev Nick Baines said: ”I just think it's dead funny - and so typical of Bradford. The only thing that concerns me - judging from the waistline and tights - is that he doesn't look that fit.“

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
SPONSORED FEATURES
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen