POLICE in Gloucestershire have taken steps to avoid any repetition of an unfortunate incident in which Benedictine monks were taken to be members of the Ku Klux Klan.
The embarrassing case of mistaken identity took place on May 13, the day on which the Pope was shot. Black residents in an immigrant area of Gloucester told police that the Klan was around after seeing a mini-bus full of white-hooded figures driving down the street. Subsequent enquiries, including lengthy questioning of innocent suspects, revealed that the bus belonged to the monks of Prinknash Abbey. The monks were on their way to an ecumenical service in Glouce ster cathedral, at which Cardinal Hume was to preach.
The registration numbers of three vehicles owned by the monks have now been noted, in case of any similar alarms in the future.
Fr Aldenham Cameron Brown, the Abbot of Prinknash, said: "We are very sorry to have caused this alarm. The police told me what had happened and it is a sad reflection of the times we live in."
Two of the men who were questioned about the incident said they. had a tough job convincing the police of their innocence.