Solved: the mystery of the suspicious white powder in the Derbyshire park

Manners Road
Manners Road

The great mystery of the white powder sprinkled under trees in an Ilkeston park has been solved.

A mysterious man seen spreading suspicious white powder under trees in an Ilkeston park turned out to be part of a local running club marking a ‘hashing’ route.

Derbyshire Police had warned residents to keep away from Victorial park on Sunday as they dealt with a ‘suspicious incident’ on Sunday morning.

A spokesman for Derbyshire Police said: “We were contacted at 9.25am by someone concerned that a man was sprinkling white powder around some of the trees and it looked suspicious.
“We went to the area and washed the powder away.”
Police said there was no sign of the man but had no explanation of the mysterious powder.

Speculation ran rife on social media, with suggestions of dog poisoning.

But Derbyshire ‘Hashing’ group the Quorn Hash House Harriers contacted us to shed some light on the situation.

Spokesman Grace Johnson said: “I spoke to Ian from the Fire Brigade on Sunday when he tracked us down to the pub we used as an On Inn and explained that it was indeed us who laid a trail in flour.

“It is unfortunate that people think the worst although I would question if someone with a malevolent intent would be so obvious with it and so generous with the powder.”

Hashing – the name is derived from the original sport of hare chasing blends running with orienteering as groups of “hounds” chase a chalk “hare” across a defined route.

Grace added: “We are currently trying to think of other mediums to use and are trailing drawing with chalk (plaster board) when in urban areas and sawdust off-road.

“Neither of these seem to have the staying power (unless interfered with by humans), of flour.

“Another advantage of flour is that it can be seen in low light and moonlight. It is also biodegradable unlike spray paints that some people want us to use. Using shredded paper would not be feasible as it would blow away and we’d also be accused of littering.”