A video of a street preacher being verbally and physically abused and having a bucket of water thrown over him by an angry market trader is being studied by police.
(WARNING: If you click the link later in this story to see the video please be advised it contains offensive language)
The confrontation took place at Wisbech Market Place on Thursday August 18th and was filmed by one of a group of street evangelists who were on a regular visit to the town.
The ugly scenes were caught on camera after the market trader swore at the preacher, warned him to leave, and is then seen going to fetch the water before then throwing it over him.
A Cambridgeshire police spokesperson said: “I can confirm that officers attended reports of violence at the market place at just after midday last Thursday, and there were no injuries.
“An investigation has been launched and anyone with any information is urged to contact police via our web chat service quoting crime reference 35/61736/23 or call us on 101 if you do not have internet access.”
Terry Jordan, clerk of Wisbech Town Council that runs the market, today issued a statement about the incident.
He said: ” The town council is aware of the situation and has issued a warning to the licence holder regarding the conduct of his employee last week.”
Two police officers attended the market but initially one quizzed the preacher asking, ‘what has been happening – apparently you have been harassing lots of people around here’.
However, the preacher then explained the events that had happened prior to the officer’s arrival.
He is heard on video explaining that “I regard that as assault” but later mentioned that he forgave the market trader for his swearing and anger.
The officer also said there had been a report from a shopkeeper who had asked for the music to be turned down, but the preacher urged her to speak to another shop worker who had “witnessed the assault”.
The preachers explained to police they attended Wisbech on a weekly basis but on this occasions “in one spot, a stall holder was really really angry- we weren’t even preaching then, just playing music”.
The Wisbech outreach is organised by Street Evangelists UK who regularly step out in Wisbech and other parts of Cambridgeshire to preach in the open air.
“It is our love to reach out to the ‘’spiritually lost’ with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, believing that Salvation is found only in Him,” says the group.
“We reach out through street evangelism, and we connect, as far as possible, with local Bible believing churches for the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of new believers,” it says.
“The ministry of Street Evangelists UK is all about making the Gospel known to all and to bring as many as we can to Jesus.”
Street Evangelists UK regularly visit Peterborough, King’s Lynn, Swaffham, Boston, Spalding, Bourne, Cambridge and Huntingdon.
And mostly, but not always as shown as Wisbech, without interference.
And rarely without the threats of “move it or there is going to be trouble” and without a bucket of water, and a bucketful of profanities, being tossed their way.
They quote Mark 16:15 as being their inspiration when he said, ”Go ye into the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.”
Street Evangelists say: “We take this command of Jesus Christ seriously by doing street evangelism. This is mostly done by handing out gospel tracts and talking to and praying with people if need be.
“Some of us preach the Gospel on a P.A system. Others systematically put tracts through letter boxes to cover populated areas. We also wear boards with God’s scriptures on them.
“As ordinary individuals, made of the earth, we’re full of Love for Jesus Christ, Love for His Church and Love for the ‘Lost’.
“All this is for The Greater Glory of God.”
A spokesperson for Street Evangelists said the response from the one street trader surprised them.
“We don’t pose a threat and we have been visiting Wisbech and other places without incident,” he said.
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