Since the Magna Carter was agreed over 800 years ago, Britain has been a country governed by common law.
But while laws against murder, thieving and numerous other offences make logical sense – there are a few that might leave you scratching your head.
With several downright bizarre laws, often passed hundreds of years ago, still in place, just waiting to catch you out.
Here are six weird laws you may have just broken:
No fun no games
Childhood should be a wonderful time full of playing, games and adventure – several of favourite kids games are actually against the law.
Knock door run or knock down ginger – a game often played by kids that involve knocking on a door and running – is illegal under the Metropolitan Police Act 1839.
The law – which also made the legal drink age 16 at the time – outlawed ‘Wantonly disturbing’ people by knocking on doors or unlawfully extinguishing lamps.
It also banned flying kites or playing games to the annoyance of others.
If you have ever wondered why a particularly embattled Prime Minister hasn’t been tempted to don a suit of armour during PMQs.
Or if you own a suit of armour and fancy taking a trip to Parliament while wearing it. Then this law is for you.
The Statute forbidding Bearing of Armour Act 1313, which was passed during the reign of Edward II, does what it says on the tin.
It bans people from wearing suits of armour while in Parliament – although it does not appear to have been successful at the time as The Earl of Lancaster came suited and booted on at least four occasions between 1316 and 1319.
And it is still a law today – although no-one has been prosecuted under the law in recent times.
Don’t drink and cow
The Licensing Act 1872 was a pretty significant bill back in the day – it was the one that restricted the closing times for pubs, which almost caused riots when police tried to enforce them at the time.
However while most of the bill has since been superseded by other laws, there is one very bizarre section that is still in place.
Under the law it is an offence, punishable with a fine, to be drunk in a public place while in charge of a horse or a cow (or any cattle for that matter). So next time you decide to take your cow to town, make sure you aren’t drunk when you do it.
Thou shalt not be drunk in a pub
The Licensing Act 1872 strikes again, which states that it is illegal to be drunk in a pub – a law I suspect many, many people have broken over the years.
The law, which is still in place, states: ‘Every person found drunk on any licensed premises, shall be liable to a penalty not exceeding level 1 on the standard scale.’
With licensed premises meaning pubs or other places licensed to sell alcohol – so perhaps think twice before you have your ninth Jagerbomb on Friday night, or else you could be (but probably won’t be) fined.
With suspicious Salmon minds
This law is for all you lovers of fish out there – it is a crime to handle salmon ‘suspiciously’.
The Salmon Act 1986 was designed to regulate salmon fishery.
Under the law there is a provision making it illegal to ‘handle salmon in suspicious circumstances’.
So next time you pop to the supermarket to get a salmon, make sure you don’t handle it suspiciously or else the bobbies may come after you.
Hands of the whale
If you’ve ever fancied having a whale as a pet, perhaps hoping one might wash up on Southsea beach one day.
Well we have bad news for you – whales, and sturgeons for that matter, are royal fish so are officially owned by the Queen as part of her royal prerogative. So hands of the whales!