|The vandalized sign|
A prankster who made one village into a national laughingstock, has finally come forward 26 years later.
In 1986, 22-year-old Chris Skripek changed the welcome sign to the small village of Weston Underwood, near Kedleston, Derbyshire.
The sign that read “Weston Underwood” was changed to one that read “Vest ‘N’ Underpants."
The national media reported the story, but it was not known who was behind the prank. Some villagers were outraged at the disrespect shown to them, while others laughed about it.
Now, Skripek, an artist, has come forward and told people that he was behind the prank, but said he has no regrets, because "it put a smile on many faces."
Skripek, who is now 48, explained: "I was 22 at the time and I was dating a girl in Kirk Ireton. I passed through the town of Weston Underwood, to get to my girlfriend’s house. After going through that town many times, my mind pronunciation of the name 'Weston Underwood' as 'Veston Undervood,' which to me sounded like 'Vest n underpants.' It became a private joke amongst my friends,” he said.
One day, he decided that it would be funny to replace the sign. He was young and like all young men he loved practical jokes. So, in the middle of the night, Skripek removed the original sign and took it home, where he scraped the original wording and replaced it with the words “Vest ‘N’ Underpants." Then he reinstalled it in its original place. In the morning, word of the prank spread quickly and the story appeared on national television and in newspapers.
Interestingly enough, the sign stayed up for a month. One newspaper at the time said that the local
council's chairman liked it because it put the village on the map.
“Many people used that road so it would have been seen by so many. I wasn't trying to be rude. I was just being mischievous at the time,” Skripek said. After confessing to his prank he said: “I hope the police won’t come knocking on my door now for something I did 26 years ago. Now I know that it was an unlawful act and vandalism, but at the time it was a good joke, which was received well."
So far, no charges have been filed against him.