No, Someone Did Not Leave Their Leg Outside A Pub In Doncaster

    The prosthetic leg seems to have actually been abandoned in Streatham, London, it transpires.

    Earlier this week, a photo of a prosthetic leg that had allegedly been abandoned by a "reveller" in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, went viral on Facebook.

    facebook.com

    "Anyone missing a leg in Doncaster last night?" Yorkshire Reyt Good, a Facebook page that affectionately pokes fun at the nuances of the historic county, jibed.

    "That's what we call getting legless in Yorkshire," around 90% of the 1,859 people who commented on the post joked in response.

    But who had lost their leg on a wild night out in Donny?

    Several national news outlets ran stories on the mysterious lost leg and Reddit threads speculated to whom it belonged.

    But when BuzzFeed News contacted South Yorkshire police about the leg, they knew nothing about it.

    Nobody had passed the abandoned item on to officers, nor had they received any missing limb reports from Doncaster residents.

    Where did the photo come from? Could it be that the leg was never abandoned in Doncaster in the first place?

    This is where the story took a dramatic turn thanks to eagle-eyed south London-based pub enthusiast and BuzzFeed News reporter Patrick Smith.

    "I know that pub!" Smith exclaimed. "That's The Horse and Groom on Streatham High Street!"

    A quick search on Google Street View revealed that the area outside The Horse and Groom does indeed match the location where the lost leg was pictured.

    Note the hanging baskets and phone box in the background that connect the two images.

    At the time of writing, the pub could not be reached for comment on whether its management had any recollection of a leg being abandoned outside of the premises.

    Following publication of our investigation, Streatham Hill resident Arran Goodchild contacted BuzzFeed News to say he had taken the picture in the area last September.

    "I was coming home from a gig quite late one night when I saw it in the street," Goodchild recalled.

    The leg seemed to have been abandoned without any sign of its owner, which Goodchild said he found amusing, and he decided to take a picture.

    "It was standing there with a beer behind it and I thought it was so surreal I may as well take a photo," he told us. "Everyone was just laughing at it and the guy from the Mexican restaurant next to the pub [pictured above left] came out to joke about it and have his picture taken with it too."

    Goodchild added that as far as he knew, the leg never found its rightful owner: "God knows where or who it was from."

    In January, Goodchild uploaded the image to Shit London, a Facebook group where people share snapshots of the capital's amusing shitness.

    The original post attracted a substantial amount of engagement from Facebook users, and from there the image spread like wildfire, becoming a viral hit that tickled the world.

    "Apparently some famous war hero from Doncaster told the Sheffield Star it was his leg, and I think it was on a website in Australia," Goodchild told us.

    BuzzFeed News was unable to confirm the existence of the war veteran's account, but it's clear the image's reach was wide.

    When the image went viral again this week, Goodchild said he found the whole thing pretty funny. "I've not been able to concentrate at work," he said.

    But the team behind the Shit London group, who see images lifted from their page developing viral lives of their own quite frequently, are said to be not quite so amused. "They're quite angry about it," Goodchild said.

    The false image of the false leg has since reached many news outlets via news and picture agency Ross Parry.

    News outlets can download the image for a fee, before running with a credit to the news agency.

    Goodchild, who owns the original image, is now keen to be paid for its use.

    "I called the Daily Mail after I saw it in their story and they told me they'd got it from Ross Parry so I got in touch with them," he said.

    The agency has now promised to reimburse Goodchild for the use of his image, but he admitted that he didn't really "know much about this kind of thing".

    When BuzzFeed News informed Ross Parry that the image was not all that it seemed, a spokesperson said it had run it on the SWNS image wire in response to the viral Facebook post yesterday.

    "It was made clear in the copy that the image was taken from a spoof Facebook page and that people were sharing a joke," a spokesperson for Ross Parry told us.

    The only revellers getting legless in Yorkshire, then, seem to be doing so in the traditional "eight pints of mild and a bag of crisps" way.

    Since the original publication of this story, the caption on the image has been changed to reflect that the picture was actually taken in Streatham.