02/06/2014 11:08 BST | Updated 02/06/2014 11:59 BST

Google Street View 'Axe Murder' Sparks Police Probe (PICTURES)

A man lies prone on the ground – seemingly struck from behind - while his assailant stands menacingly over him brandishing a pick axe handle.

It could have been just another unsolved crime, but this brutal incident in a backstreet of Edinburgh was captured by none other than the Google Street View car.

Well, it would have made a cracking yarn had it been true.

google street view murder scene

This grisly scene was picked up by the Google Street View car in Leith, Edinburgh

What you’re actually looking at is two chaps playing a rather heinous prank which saw some concerned internet users contact the police.

Dan Thomson and Gary Kerr staged the scene outside their garage in Leith, Edinburgh.

Thomson, the garage boss, posed as the murder victim.

He told South West News: “I recognised the Google car coming into the street from the camera on the top. We just thought we had to do something.

Photo galleryGoogle Street View 'murder scene' See Gallery

“This opportunity wasn’t coming around very often so Gary grabbed a pick axe handle and we ran out into the street.

"Giles Street is in a U-shape so we had about a minute before it would pass us. We decided really quickly what to do and I lay down while Gary stood over me with a pick axe handle."

He added: "It was all we could think of in the few seconds we had. It was just devilment. We work on a backstreet in Leith - anything to liven up the day."

The pair executed their fiendish prank last summer and had all but forgotten about it before a friend contacted them to say he’d seen the image.

google street view murder scene

All in jest - see, he's fine!

Thomson added: “But then someone else must have looked at it and thought it was a real attack and called the police.

“Then two of Lothian and Borders finest turn up with a report of a man being massacred outside a garage. They said it was hilarious and away they went.”

A spokesman for Edinburgh Police told Huffington Post UK: "Anyone with any concerns or who would like to report a crime should contact Police on 101."

It’s not the first time the wool has been pulled over the Google Street View car’s roving eye.

Four years ago ten-year-old Azura Beebeejaun sparked panic when the car snapped a picture of her lying face down in a road.

She explained her friend had suggested she played dead after tripping over but had no idea she had been photographed looking not unlike a corpse.


What to do if you see the Google Street View car on an empty road

And last year a couple in rural Australia made the most of an encounter with the vehicle by pretending to have sex for the camera.

The pair had been driving on Dukes Highway in Keith, Southern Australia, when they spotted the car and pulled over to “perform”.

The latest incident also brings to mind a Google Earth image which prompted fears it had revealed a murder scene.

google maps

The scene which prompted speculation a grisly murder had taken place

The shot, which showed what looked like a trail of blood leading down a jetty in the Dutch city of Almere, sparked speculation a body had been dragged along it.

A shadowy, though unidentifiable figure is seen standing at the edge of the water in the shot, which was taken by a Google Earth helicopter.

Armchair detectives took on the case with great gusto, and were no doubt left nonplussed to find that far from being the scene of a grisly murder, they were actually looking at a water trail left by a sodden golden retriever named Rama.

“When I saw the picture I realised ‘It’s my dog’. He loves the water, explained owner Jacquelina Koenen.

She added: “He jumps off the end of the jetty, swims round to the bridge and runs down to the edge again.”

Koenen’s story - and Rama's love of the water - was confirmed by police.

Photo galleryGoogle Street View 'murder scene' See Gallery

Photo galleryGoogle Street View 'murder scene' See Gallery