In a coordinated operation carried out early this morning, police forces across the country swept to arrest and charge the leaders of several battle reenactment societies.

Chief Inspector Charles Stuart told reporters: ‘For too long now we have allowed this open sore to fester and we have had to act before it gets out of control. These people are fully grown adults, for heaven’s sake, and really should know better. Look, if they want to make complete and utter fools of themselves in public then what’s wrong with golf… or Morris Dancing?’

It’s understood that four men have been released and have been bailed to appear before magistrates in July to face charges of ‘Gross Pillockery’, an old law that was thought to have been removed from the statute book, but was subsequently found to still exist.

However the police action has upset many keen reenactment supporters with one Sealed Knot spokesman, Oliver Cromwell, hitting back. ‘This is a disgrace. We’re just a group of like-minded people giving the public a lot of fun with a wonderfully colourful, exciting and educational spectacle into the bargain.’

‘What’s more a charge of Gross Pillockery has has not bee brought before the courts since 1775, and if we really must have one, then how about charging those patently guilty of the crime like Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Michael Gove?’