BRITISH historian and broadcaster David Starkey yesterday called for a ban on Halloween japes after a troop of young "guisers" targeted him during a weekend break in Fife.
Starkey, recently accused of "stupid English prejudice" after he denounced Scotland as a tiny, unimportant country, had decided to enjoy a break in Auchtermuchty to try and placate the Scottish population in the wake of his inflammatory remarks.
Fife Police say that an incident was reported shortly after 8pm, during which the front door of Mr Starkey's holiday home was daubed with dog excrement and raw egg. When he came out to confront the six youngsters, one dressed as Addams Family anti-hero, Gomez Addams, pounced.
Police reports say the boy, believed to be aged six or seven, was heard chanting an alternative version to the cult television show's theme tune; to the fear and alarm of Mr Starkey.
The controversial historian, who was sharing the cottage with members of the North East Fife Relic and Fossil Appreciation Society, said:
"It was horrible, to say the very least, to see this tiny boy with a mouth like a cess pit. He was bawling at me - "They're stinky and they're smelly, they can't afford a telly, they live on bread and jelly, the Starkey family" - I thought it was some sort of weird rite performed in Auchtermuchty at this time of year."
When he tried to shake the young attacker off, Mr Starkey attracted the ire of the other five and a substantial amount of silly string and pink blancmange was fired in his direction.
He was then forced to his knees and his head pushed into a waiting bucket of cold water filled with rosy Braeburn apples.
"Halloween is the perfect opportunity for young cretins, such as those I encountered in Fife, to act irresponsibly and pester upstanding citizens. I had declined to "dook" for apples with them so they forced yet another one of their bizarre traditions on me in the name of fun. This is precisely why Scotland's attempt to create a Scottish colony in Central America in the 17th century failed."
Soaking, and chilled to the marrow, Mr Starkey retreated into the house and called the police.
PC Craig Simmons was first on the scene and managed to collar one of the offenders, who cannot be named for legal reasons, believed to be masquerading as Dracula.
The rest of the group scattered into the dark streets and are still being hunted by a team of officers.
Ethel Devine-McDaid, secretary of the Auchtermuchty and District Community Council, said it had been a shock for the whole village, but defended the actions of the youngsters.
"David Starkey is, perhaps without doubt, one of the most ignorant men I have ever some across. No-one asked him to come to our village and, being in Scotland, I'm sure everything from the front hall carpet to the bedspreads would be sub-standard anyway. We don't want his sort here.
"The kids were just enjoying Halloween and, if he will not play ball with a group of tots, he should have expected a good pasting."
Starkey's sweeping dismissal of the impact of Scots on the Empire, science and the industrial revolution coincided with his new television series on the history of the English monarchy.
Fellow historians, however, have since suggested that the remarks were more worthy of a back alley bigot than a Cambridge University academic.