Mistaken identity: From wrong Guy to Obama for England

A police community support officer recently had to beat a hasty retreat from a horde of middle-aged women who believed he was a stripper. The group, celebrating a 50th birthday at a social club in Wiltshire, was reportedly "wild with excitement" as the uniformed PCSO Mike Ober poked his head round the door to make sure nothing untoward was going on.

Fortunately for the lusty ladies, the real artiste passed Mr Ober in the doorway as he left and, in the tried and tested way of strippers, Mr Ober was not only able to keep his hat on but the rest of his uniform as well.

BBC News looks at some other cases of mistaken identity.

'The wrong Guy'

Image caption Guy Goma looked appalled when he was introduced on live television as an IT expert

In 2006, Guy Goma appeared on the BBC News Channel - then called News 24 - in place of an IT expert after a mix-up in a reception area at Television Centre.

Mr Goma was actually waiting to be interviewed for an IT role at the corporation. But he was understandably puzzled and a little put out that the questions he faced in an interview for the job of data support cleanser were about the Apple v Apple court case.

The confusion occurred when a producer went to collect the expert from the wrong reception area. The producer asked for Guy Kewney, editor of Newswireless.net, who was booked for the programme.

After being pointed in Mr Goma's direction by a receptionist, the producer - who had seen a photo of the real expert - checked: "Are you Guy Kewney?" Mr Goma, an economics and business studies graduate from Congo, hesitatingly said he was.

One of the best elements of the whole affair was Mr Goma's look of appalled astonishment when he was announced live on air as an IT expert. Assuming this was an interview situation, he rose to the challenge and bravely gave his opinion.

At the time, his story was tipped to be made into a film, but it was never clear whether he got offered the job.

'The wrong sort of pirate'

Image copyright Parkham WI
Image caption Colin Darch (centre) was surprised to find the women of Parkham WI dressed in costume

Members of a Devon Women's Institute got into the sprit of things in 2013 when they donned eye patches and shouldered parrots to welcome a speaker about piracy.

Unfortunately, the good people of Parkham WI had got the wrong end of the stick and guest Colin Darch was not a swashbuckling marauder of the high seas, but had been held hostage for 47 days in 2008 by Somali pirates.

But Mr Darch took it all in good spirits. "It didn't bother me. They had all made an effort. Most of them seemed to be wearing false moustaches and funny hats, it looked like a rehearsal for Pirates of Penzance".

WI treasurer Steph George said: "He was such a good sport, but we won't be dressing up again for a while."

Harriott v Henry

ITV apologised for showing a news item about Sir Lenny Henry receiving a knighthood which featured footage of TV cook Ainsley Harriott. The gaffe, which was blamed on a production error, was picked up by a number of viewers.

Another case of mistaken identity was suffered by Labour MP David Lammy, who was the subject of a story about the party's leadership. Local newspaper the Tottenham and Wood Green Independent published a picture of former president of Sierra Leone Julius Maada Bio underneath the headline: "MP David Lammy considers taking Ed Miliband's job as Labour leader".

Mr Lammy took it with good humour and tweeted a picture of the imposter with the message: "If anyone knows who this guy is please let him know he's now the MP for Tottenham".

Dropping a bombshell

A BBC radio reporter was held to the ground and searched by police under the Terrorism Act after his transmitter equipment was mistaken for a bomb.

Five officers forced Max Khan - who was wearing a backpack with protruding wires and aerials - to his knees and held him face down, in Stoke-on-Trent in 2008.

Mr Khan had been covering a story about a recently-removed Post Office, with his portable equipment enabling him to broadcast from the spot.

Staffordshire Police, whose officers had previously arrested a man after mistaking his MP3 player for a gun, later apologised.

Playing centre-Barack for England?

Image copyright Getty Images/Wholesale Clearance Ltd

Unofficial England World Cup mugs released ahead of the 2014 tournament bore the smiling yet determined faces of the team - apart from defender Chris Smalling, who was bizarrely replaced by US president Barack Obama.

Manufacturers made the mistake when sourcing royalty-free pictures of each England squad player to use on the mugs. The person given the task admitted he was "more of a rugby fan" and was a little fuzzy about what Smalling looked like. Bosses did not spot the Manchester United player had been replaced by one from the White House, and signed the order off.

When the Dorset manufacturers realised their mistake, the crockery - which had been destined for market stalls across the land - was instead snapped up at a bargain price by Hampshire company, Wholesale Clearance UK.

The Italian job

Image copyright Phil Degginger/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Peter Hamkin was arrested in 2003 by Italian police investigating the murder of a young woman. They had found his DNA details on an international database and wanted him extradited to Italy in connection with the shooting of Anna Lisa Vincentini in Tuscany, in August 2002.

But, Mr Hamkin had never been to Italy, and an extradition hearing was not only told he had more than 20 people prepared to say he was in Liverpool on the day of the murder, but had documents that proved he was in the UK at the time.

Eventually, Interpol discovered it had made a mistake in the matching procedures related to his DNA profile.

"I was a prisoner in my own home, constantly on the edge thinking the Italian police were going to arrive to take me away," Mr Hamkin said.

Erinsborough United?

Image copyright ABC/Getty
Image caption Everybody needs good neighbours...

And perhaps the oddest of all - when current manager of Manchester United, Louis Van Gaal was just a twinkle in the Premier League team's eye, an Australian newspaper confused the then-Holland manager with a character from TV soap Neighbours.

An article about Van Gaal - dubbed "Goal" in the headline - was accompanied by a photograph of Ian Smith - who plays Harold Bishop.

After all, Mr Bishop does have managerial skills - he ran the coffee shop in fictional Erinsborough for a good few years.

Image copyright Mx

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