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World Record Transport Cell Escape

World Record Transport Van Escape

On Saturday March 12th, 2022, at 2pm at the Maple Tree Woodfield Plantation, Balby, Doncaster England DN4 8RZ three members from the UKEA (United Kingdom Escape Artists) were challenged to perform a world’s first.

The Doncaster Restraint Museum challenged, Allan Taylor, Andrew Robertson and Tim Houlton to escape from a locked prison van whilst wearing UK regulation handcuffs, all under test conditions and controlled by a serving police office and master locksmith. They would be locked in brand new, unopened, and sealed regulation handcuffs, opened only by the Police officer, escorted into the van and locked into individual cells and then lastly locked into the van itself. All witnessed by the public and a volunteer who went inside the van to make sure all was secure. All in a timeframe of 20 minutes to coincide with the club’s 20th Anniversary. The DRM were quoted as saying the challenge was impossible and has never been performed anywhere in the world in full view of the public.

The UKEA is open to both professional and amateur escapologists, along with collectors and historians and is the only official escape group in the UK. Yes, we are just like the world-famous Harry Houdini.

The three escape artists who took on the challenge were Andy Robertson Scotland’s award-winning Escape Artist and prison escape expert.

Andy has escaped previously live on STV (Scottish Television) from the High Security cell at Peterhead Prison and has won every UK top award for escapes including escaping from an electric chair!

Tim Houlton England’s award-winning Escape Artist and prison van escape expert.

Tim has previously escaped from a prison van on his own for one of his past performances and has also won top UK award for his escapes.

Allan Taylor England’s award-winning Escape Artist, Houdini Historian, and chairman of the UKEA

Allan has previously escaped from a double straitjacket and has also won every UK top award for escapology.

On the day the three prisoners were found sitting at the pub and were escorted over to the van and made to stand with their hands above their head, in full public view the police opened and checked the handcuffs, and each prisoner was cuffed and scanned to make sure they were not concealing any tools, that cheeky Tim was found to have a mobile phone on him and that was quickly confiscated. They were then escorted into the Transport van and locked into the cells. A member of the public was chosen to come and check the doors were secure and locked, the outside doors were also checked to make sure they were locked. Tick tock the timer started.

The van was rocking, loud noises coming from the outside along with a few screams of pain and requests for help – could they escape? 6 minutes, 7 minutes, 8 minutes BOOM, a large explosion came from top of the van and a few seconds later Andy came running from the back door towards the front door, Allan bust out of the front door, and this was closely followed by Tim who came out of the top of the vehicle – all in 8 minutes and 44 seconds. A world first, a world record, the DRM failed but the boys from the UKEA proved that this challenge wasn’t a match for their skills



The Mick Hanzlik Award

On March 11th 2017, the members of the United Kingdom Escape Artists had their fifteenth Annual General Meeting at The Yeoman of England in Northampton. This is the second year that the members also competed for the chance to win "The Mick Hanzlik Award", for the best escape on the day. Mick Hanzlik was a long-time member of the U.K.E.A and was also from Northampton.

Throughout the day, all members had the opportunity to perform an escape of their choice and all members voted on who they thought deserved the coveted award.

This year was no different in that the members were up for the challenge. There were escapes from all kinds of restraints and equipment, some upright and some inverted. It was an interesting year in that a duo escape was performed. This was done by Allan Taylor and his wife Rebecca, (The Taylor's). They performed a duo strait-jacket escape. Duo SJ's have been performed many times 

with the two artists in separate jackets, but The Taylor's had commissioned a single jacket with four arms to be made. This was a very unique escape and very entertaining, resulting in them being the 2017 winners of the award.

Allan and Rebecca were presented with the award by Louise and Stephanie, two of the daughters of the late Mick Hanzlik, Master Locksmith and much missed U.K.E.A member.

The David De-Val Award 2020

Allan Taylor became the third person to win the prestigious David De-Val award for his efforts during the last 12 months in promoting the art form. Allan has worked tireless in his job as chairman for the United Kingdom Escape Artists.

The Crucifix

Tis the year of Our Lord Sixteen hundred and twelve and we have unclean souls living amongst us! These heathens have chosen to forsake Our Lord and Saviour and the good work of His Church! Instead they willingly consort with demons, practice witchcraft and sorcery, and have signed their names in the Devil’s book!

Here in Pendle Hill, we do not stand for such blasphemy! Here in Pendle Hill, we obey the word of God and the word of God says that we should not suffer a witch to live! What say you, good people? Do we find Allan and Rebecca Taylor guilty of witchcraft? Aye, we find them guilty a’right and the sentence be summary execution upon the Holy Cross of Our Lord! The town locksmith has welded an iron mask onto your faces, the better to still your lying tongues and the gaze of your eyes, lest you attempt to bewitch us with Satan’s enchantments! May the Lord have mercy on your dark souls! Rest in peace and torment us no longer!

Allan and Becki were handcuffed to a steel cross, placed in iron masks padlocked together. The masks are also based on the original De-Val masks

The Double Clear Mailbag 2018

On March 17th 2018, the members of the United Kingdom Escape Artists had their sixteenth Annual General Meeting at The Yeoman of England in Northampton.

As ever the meeting was a great opportunity for those that attended to not only learn about the craft but also to test and debut new and impressive escapes. We were also pleased to welcome back the founder member, James Peters.

The day consisted of lectures, demonstrations and escape challenges.

Rebecca and Allan Taylor, holders of the 2017 Mick Hanzlik award performed a double mail bag escape with a twist.

Allan was secured into an original De-Val Straitjacket while Rebecca had handcuffs and leg restraints secured onto her. The bag was checked and a Padlock was chosen by Tony Gough from a pack of 3 sealed locks.

Allan and Rebecca entered the “clear” double bag and Tim secured the top with a bar and padlock, at this point the bag was filled up with Smoke! Allan and Rebecca were now in darkness and a race against time was in place so as not to breathe in the smoke. Dramatic music played along with lights highlighting the smoke filled bag, at 4 minutes 30 seconds, Allan appeared out of the bag just as the music changed into “Happiness” by ken Dodd – Allan had a facemask and a hat as a sign of respect to Ken Dodd who has passed away earlier that week.

To everyone’s surprised Rebecca also appeared, however she was secured into a second “new De-Val Straitjacket!

In the news

HIS name became synonymous with the act of disappearing, but a couple from Upton are now due to magically appear in a new documentary about escapologist, Harry Houdini.

The new four-part series about the famous illusionist from the early 20th century is being screened around the world as experts attempts to recreate some of his greatest stunts and explain the science behind them.

And the trail led the show’s producers from America to West Yorkshire, where Houdini’s great nephew, George Hardeen, visited to speak with Rebecca and Allan Taylor.

The couple’s interest stems from Rebecca’s father, David De-Val from Oldham, who became an escape artist himself after being inspired by the Houdini movie filmed in 1953.

The couple have themselves become self-confessed Houdini historians and amateur escapologists, even becoming the first ever couple to escape from one straitjacket together.

Their home also has a ‘mini museum’ of artefacts to the great man at their home.

Allan said: “I suppose in the Houdini world we’re quite known for what we do and we got a call from a TV company in Texas saying George Hardeen wanted to visit us. As soon as they mentioned him, we just thought, ‘brilliant’, he’s Houdini’s closest living relative.

“He came with a camera crew, in November and he was here for about five hours.

“He was such a fantastic guy - it was just after Hallowe’en so we sat here eating Haribo sweets discussing Houdini, it was surreal.”

The weekly show, which began on Discovery channel last night, Wednesday, February 6, does not reveal any of Hungarian-born Houdini’s secrets, but alludes to how he could have possibly achieved the stunts.

Episode three, which includes the visit to West Yorkshire, looks at Houdini’s famous Siberian transport cell escape from 1903 which became one of his most celebrated stunts.

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