It was probably the world’s least threatening gang dispute. Police were called to a science fiction convention in Norwich, England, after a row between Star Wars and Doctor Who fans threatened to turn to the dark side.
The quarrel started when two Norwich Sci-Fi Club members tried to get autographs from Doctor Who stars at the fourth Norwich Sci-Fi and Film Convention on Sunday. The event, held at the University of East Anglia, was organized by the rival Norwich Star Wars Club. An intergalactic turf war ensued.
Tempers apparently became frayed when Jim Poole, treasurer of Norwich Sci-Fi Club, and a companion tried to get autographs from Doctor Who actors Graham Cole and Jeremy Bullock for a charity auction. Some Norwich Star Wars Club members spied his Norwich Sci-Fi Club sweater and took umbrage. Insults were thrown and the cops summoned.
“I was put in a police car. We were both interviewed by the police and told to stay away from each other,” Poole told the BBC, adding that there was a history of animosity between the factions.
A spokesman for Norfolk Police confirmed that officers swooped in to maintain order after receiving reports that a man was being assaulted at the event. “After a lengthy investigation, talking to witnesses and reviewing good CCTV footage, it was confirmed that there was no assault,” read a statement.
Dominic Warner, secretary of Norwich Star Wars Club, moved to quell tensions, but admitted that members of both groups had come into conflict in the past. “It does sound comical,” he admitted. “People that dress up in costume are labeled geeks and some people laugh at us, and this just makes it even more so.”
Richard Walker, who ran the event, told the International Business Times that it took around six months to organize and had been well received. “We will be back next year with an even bigger and better fair,” he added.
A meeting has been arranged to restore balance between the rival organizations. And fortunately for sci-fi fans everywhere, no lightsabers or sonic screwdrivers were removed from their protective wrapping during the spat.