Two young men returning from the pub in Cleeve on Tuesday night claim they were accosted by the Somerset Gimp.
Alex Warren, 19, and his friend Charlie Bond say they were approached by the man wearing a PVC bodysuit and black skintight mask after having a few pints to celebrate Mr Bond’s birthday.
The pair said the man dropped to the ground and started wriggling while ‘speaking some demon language’.
Several people since 2018 have had similar encounters in the area.
Mr Warren told the Sunday Telegraph: ‘He had latex gloves and was covered in an earthy liquid like he’d been rolling in fields or dunking in septic tanks – he was impressing nobody.
After a minute or two he realised that we are two lads, a few beers down. My mate is 6ft9ins and a force to be reckoned with. Once the initial shock had turned into humour he got up and took the cigarette.
‘I tried to talk to him – human to human – about what is going on and then he gets off. He takes the cigarette off the bench and starts walking away.’
Similar sightings of a person wearing a full body suit with a face covering have previously been reported in nearby villages Claverham and Yatton in 2019, 2021 and 2022.
A teenager says he encountered a man wearing a full body suit and face covering in Cleeve, North Somerset, who flopped to the ground
‘I don’t want this guy to be seen as a bogey man…but this kind of thing, this invisible threat that he could be anywhere…it’s indirectly causing fear,’ the teenager added.
‘It’s not just about the encounter, but the effect it has in waves through the community. It’s quite gut-wrenching.’
Mr Warren said he contacted police after the encounter.
Officers raced to the scene along with a dog unit and police helicopter and carried out a search. A man in his 30s was arrested from an address in the local area on suspicion of causing a public nuisance.
He has since been released on bail but is subject to a night-time curfew, and is not allowed to leave his home between 9pm and 6am.
Acting Inspector Lee Kerslake, of the neighbourhood policing team, said: ‘We responded quickly to this report due to its similarity with other previous incidents which have caused significant alarm and distress to members of the public.
Reports of a ‘gimp man’ being spotted date back a few years – here is a sighting in July 2019
‘No one has been physically harmed during any of these incidents but we know they have caused concern to the local community and we are determined to identify the individual or individuals responsible and stop them.
‘We continue to keep an open mind about the intentions of the man on Millier Road and whether the incident is linked to any others.
‘To reassure the community, we will be carrying out extra patrols in the area and anyone concerned about this, or any other incident, is encouraged to speak to an officer.
‘Anyone who saw a man acting suspiciously in the Cleeve, Claverham or Yatton areas overnight Monday/Tuesday or has CCTV, doorbell footage or dashcam which could help our inquiry is asked to get in touch.’
It comes after 19-year-old Kiera Elston and her boyfriend Lewis Webb encountered a masked man dressed in a gimp suit while walking home in the village of Yatton at around 1am on June 26.
Kiera Elston (pictured) was walking home with her boyfriend when they came across a man in a latex bodysuit in June
The pair were left terrified by the creepy occurrence and ran away to get away from the bizarre man, who Kiera says looked ‘proud’ with his arms outstretched.
‘It was the most terrifying experience of my life,’ she told the Daily Star after the incident.
‘I’ve got the image in my head of him walking towards me and staring. I dread to think what would have happened if I’d been on my own. I’m still really shaken up by it.’
Her boyfriend Lewis was left similarly worried, saying they were lucky that they were with each other at the time.
A ‘gimp man’ has been ‘terrorising’ sleepy villages in the West Country over the last few years.
There have been suspected sightings of the man in Claverham last year and in 2019, with police searches for the person responsible coming up empty. Two people were arrested and released without charge.
One person who was targeted in July 2019 even managed to get a picture of the supposed ‘gimp man’, showing him dressed in an all-black latex suit, with a mask covering his entire face.