FOUR retired police detectives are launching a mystery adventure game in the centre of Salisbury that will see players try to escape from a series of rooms by solving clues and puzzles.

Salisbury Escape Rooms opens next month with the theme of a missing Magna Carta and the disappearance of a renowned historian.

The game involves teams of between two and six people first being met and briefed by a detective at the centre in Fisherton Street before being led into the rooms of Professor Smith and given an hour to unravel the truth and escape.

Based on video games, escape rooms started opening in Europe and Asia a decade ago and are now starting to appear in the UK.

The attraction in Salisbury is believed to be the only one set up by real detectives who have spent their careers investigating crime as Wiltshire Police officers.

The four - Darhyl Davies, Gordon Howsego, Matthew Johnson and Pete Waugh - all of whom are retired or are soon to retire from the force first experienced the concept during a trip to Hungary.

Mr Johnson, who was Detective Inspector at Salisbury CID until last summer, said: “We’ve known each other for 30 years and every year we go away for a long weekend.

“Last autumn we went to Budapest and it just so happened we saw one of these attractions, we thought we’d give it a try and we enjoyed it so much, we did another the next day.

“Later on while we were having a drink in a bar and talking about retirement and what we were going to do, we thought why not have a go at running our own escape rooms.

“They are starting to spring up in the UK and with Salisbury being listed in the top ten places to visit in the world this year by Lonely Planet and the 800 years of Magna Carta, the city is the ideal place.”

With a range of interactive puzzles designed by the four detectives, the game involves plenty of lateral thinking but help will be at hand should players be stumped – one detective will be watching the progress of players on CCTV and is at hand to deliver additional clues as the game continues.

Mr Howsego said: “We are planning to have a league table to see how quickly teams can make it through the game so there will be time penalties for those requiring extra help.

“As well as the tourist market, we’re also gearing it to corporate team building exercises.”

Salisbury Escape Rooms, which is at 11a Fisherton Street, will open on March 28 and is set to be open daily from around 10am to 8pm. The cost will be £60 per team.

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