Comedy character Lee Nelson staged a fake theft of his own DVD in Oxford Street yesterday, to entertain fans who had arrived for a DVD signing. However, after being chased around the store by an actor in police uniform, they spilled out onto the street where it all went horribly wrong.
A real police officer saw what he thought was a real crime, and stepped in.
Nelson, a character invented by Simon Brodkin, and star of 'Lee Nelson's Well Good Show', ran out of the store, pursued by the actor. Unfortunately, a nearby Police Community Support Officer saw the chase, and thought there was a real robbery in progress.
He joined the chase, and the three men tussled in the street. Then the PCSO marched him back to the store and forced him to the ground. At this point the comedian came clean that it had all been a stunt.
Later Brodkin issued a statement as Nelson, saying: "How can you get arrested for nicking your own DVD? Mr Loophole lawyer, if you're reading this, get me off and I'll sort you out with the 20 other DVDs I took."
A spokesman for HMV told the Daily Mail "If anyone was alarmed then we're sorry, but most people there could see it was just a bit of a playful stunt."
Publicity stunts are always a bit of a risk, and there have been plenty to go horribly awry.
The team behind the launch of racing game BurnOut planned to pay for all speeding fines issued in London on the day it was released. It was only when police intervened to refuse them permission that it occurred to them that it might not be the safest idea they ever had.
Vodafone was left red-faced after a New Zealand vs Australia rugby match, where two streakers invaded the pitch in nothing but Vodafone logos. They were arrested and the company apologised after admitting it had offered to pay any fines the pair faced.
The launch of Resident Evil 5 was accompanied by a campaign of leaving fake severed limbs around London for players to find. The resulting panic apparently took the game-makers by surprise.
10 of the weirdest celebrity products
Comedian 'theft' publicity stunt backfires
When it comes to bizarre celebrity products, they don't come much weirder than the Bill Wyman Signature Metal Detector, designed and marketed by the former Rolling Stones bass guitarist.
Apparently, Wyman, who is now in his mid-70s, loves archaeology and has used his own metal detector to find relics in the English countryside dating back to the Roman Empire.
Fans of US president Barack Obama can show their appreciation for the politician by buying a Barack Obama Chia - shaped like the president's head - and growing grass out of the top of it.
And for those who prefer a more historical theme to their garden ornaments, Chias shaped like the heads of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln are also available.
Action star Sylvester Stallone put out a protein-infused pudding designed to appeal to fans keen to build muscles like the big man's.
Unfortunately for them, however, the pudding has now been taken off the market.
Heiress Paris Hilton endorses numerous products, ranging from outfits for your dog to hair extensions.
But the most random Paris Hilton product on the market has to be her line of craft supplies, the Creativity Collection, which features items such as stickers and transfers.
Rapper Snoop Dogg's latest business venture is a "smokeable" lyric book.
"Rolling Words: A Smokable Songbook" contains the words to some of Snoop's biggest hits, including "Ain't Nothing But A G'Thang" and "Gin and Juice" - all on cigarette rolling papers.
Hollywood film director David Lynch loves coffee so, of course, he decided to make his own.
Embarrassingly, the tagline on the David Lynch Signature Cup is "It's all in the beans ... and I'm just full of beans."
Former boxer George Foreman's grill is undoubtedly the most successful, random celebrity product of recent years.
The "machine", which claims to reduce the fat content of your meal by 42%, has earned Foreman more than $200 million over the last decade or so.
Supermodel Heidi Klum has her own line of low-fat sweets, which includes Heidi's Yogurt Dessert Cremes and Heidi's Yogurt Fruit Cremes.
Apparently, the design of the sweets is influenced by icons that Klum uses in her text messages to friends. Strange.
Actor Danny DeVito is such a big fan of Italian liquer Limoncello, he decided to launch one of his own.
Called Danny DeVito's Premium Limoncello, the diminutive star claims that it's "like pouring yourself a glass of liquid sunshine straight from Italy's Sorrentine Peninsula".
Steven Seagal made his name leaping around in action films that allowed him to show off his martial arts prowess. But he is also behind an energy drink called Lightning Bolt.
Advertised as being "packed with vitamins and exotic botanicals", it sounds like just the tipple if you are planning to take on 10 armed men with your bare hands.