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Home Canterbury News Article
A mischievous Canterbury prankster has become an internet sensation by playing tricks on unsuspecting members of the public.
Under the guise of Speedo Shy, Christ Church University student Shayan Shayegani pulls practical jokes on people going about their business.
His friends then film their reactions, which range from laughter to swinging punches - and post the footage on the web.
Speedo Shy's antics have earned him a huge online following, with his Facebook page attracting more than 7,000 likes and YouTube channel clocking up over 21,600 views.
The 20-year-old said he started pulling the Dom Joly-style hoaxes as a way to break into acting, but now hopes to turn it into a full-time job.
He said: "At first, I wanted to build up a following online and get into acting that way. It seemed to make people laugh.
"I've already grown so much because of the power of Facebook and Twitter. It already feels like my job. It's my dream, and I want to do it full-time – you can make a career out of anything nowdays.
"I like the fact that every day is different. It's not a 9 to 5 job in an office. I can't make a living out of it at the moment, but I'm hoping to."
In one prank, called Speedo Shy being a Menace in Asda, Shayan is seen riding a mobility scooter around a supermarket and placing items in shoppers' trollies while their backs are turned.
In another, he appears clad in just a pair of Speedos as he dances in front of five "main attractions" in Canterbury – including the Cathedral gate, a roundabout and McDonald's.
Shayan, who lives in Margate, said most of his ideas come from suggestions from his fans, who contact him in their droves every day.
He said: "I have messages daily from people telling me what to do next.
"After I post a clip, I get a couple of hundred messages in the space of a few hours. It's great, but I'm hoping to get a lot bigger."
Some might say it is a far cry from Shayan's initial ambition to become a psychologist, which was the reason he decided to study science at university.
But he said: "It's not actually that different. Both psychology and the pranks I do involve reading people's reactions.
"I can understand when I'm pushing people over the limit, and know when to draw the line."
One of Speedo Shy's most popular clips - and Shayan's personal favourite - did not involve a prank, but an act of kindness.
He explained: "I don't celebrate Christmas because I'm Muslim, so I didn't have anything to do last year.
"I decided to dress up as Santa and give out loads of presents to the needy and homeless in Canterbury and Thanet. It was a great experience."
Another of his favourites is called Daytime Bouncer, in which he dons a headset and pretends to be a doorman outside shops.
He is seen asking customers for their names and checking a clipboard before allowing them to go inside, and even refusing entry, forcing them to queue and patting them down.
Fortunately, most people are good-humoured about the pranks - but Shayan has been shouted at, chased and even forced to dodge a right-hook.
He said: "In one video, I was making people paranoid by walking next to them, and one bloke swung a punch. But in most places, people have a good sense of humour about it.
"They're just harmless pranks. People are so busy in their day-to-day lives, so I hope to liven them up a bit. Most people have a proper laugh about it."
His pranks have also attracted unwanted attention from the police, but while he has been moved on, he is yet to be arrested.
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