A Welsh shopkeeper was threatened with arrest for selling drugs paraphernalia after a local officer mistakenly quoted Australian law he found during internet searches.
The police constable confused New South Wales in Australia with South Wales in Britain as he brushed up on his law knowledge when using Google.
But as a result, the shopkeeper, who is located in the South Wales valleys, was mistakenly warned he could be arrested for selling a pipe-smokers’ “bong” that is generally used for smoking marijuana.
The Pc, who has not been named, had showed the shopkeeper an internet printout on the law’s stance about selling such equipment, which he stated proved it was an illegal act in Wales.
But the unidentified retailer later discovered the law referred to Australia’s most populous state, home to the country’s biggest city Sydney, more than 10,000 miles away.
The bobby was left red-faced after senior officers told him he was wrong. Police chiefs were later forced to apologise for the embarrassing blunder.
“The policeman went into the store and told the shopkeeper what he was selling illegal,” said Mr Palmer, a 52 year-old company director.
“He quoted a law and gave him a piece of paper with the relevant clause on it.
Mr Palmer, of wholesalers Avalon based in Portsmouth, Hants, added: “So I searched the act and this section on google and found that it was a law in New South Wales in Australia.”