'Robin Hood' giveaway sparks New York stampede

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The Independent US

Just who were the band of merry men dressed in Lincoln green who nearly caused a riot in New York's Washington Square Park - posing as Robin Hood and his gang and handing out money to passers-by? The three men who appeared with handfuls of money said they were from Sheffield and were on a vital mission to educate the world about politeness.

"What you are about to see will amaze you. We are mad Englishmen," one of the trio yelled through a megaphone as people stopped to stare.

The first person approached by the men declined the offer of a $5 bill. But when they began throwing small denomination notes into the air people pulled and pushed each other in their attempts to gather up the cash.

One of the men, more than 6ft 6in, dressed as Little John and going by the name of Daniel, told the New York Post: "There's a real lack of courtesy in the world. The world would be a better place if people were more courteous, but the English are very sceptical, so we decided to come to New York." Another, Oliver, added: "I want people to have a little more common courtesy towards their fellow human beings. We hope this encourages people to give something back. It feels good to give."

It is estimated that the men gave away around $4,000 (£2,100) on Sunday afternoon before they headed off in a taxi, refusing to divulge their full identities.

Despite the mêlée no one was seriously hurt, apart from bumps and bruises. "There were people pushing and people shoving," Sally Caraballo, one bystander, told the newspaper. "I got a nasty little scrape and my butt hurts from getting pushed down."