Bizarre TikTok Trend Sees Police Issue Warning Over Teenage 'Bean Bandits'

A strange new trend has taken over TikTok feeds in the United Kingdom: beaning.

Dating back at least several months, the trend consists of pranksters, typically young adults and teenagers, pouring out entire cans of beans onto people's porches, into their school's toilets, and across other property.

While the concept itself isn't entirely original—it is quite similar to the tradition of "egging" a building—the use of baked beans offers a new twist on an old prank. However, authorities are speaking up against the trend, warning parents and grocery store staff to be wary of teenagers in possession of large quantities of canned beans.

On TikTok, those partaking in the trend appear to commune using the hashtag #beanbandits (along with #beaning, to a lesser extent). According to the app, videos tagged with #beanbandits have been viewed 1.3 million times, and several clips from as far back as April have gone viral.

However, despite the high number of views, it's unclear how widespread the trend actually is. #Beanbandits has been used in fewer than thirty videos on TikTok, though several others proliferate on the app under different tags.

Beaning videos are, for the most part, similar to one another: one or more of these so-called "bean bandits" will empty cans of beans (typically baked, but not always) onto the target area, leaving an annoying mess for someone else to find.

UK authorities have caught wind of the trend and are now telling citizens to look out for strange, bean-related behavior. Police community support officer Michelle Owens of the West Yorkshire Police released the following statement to the Yorkshire Evening Post: "It has come to the attention of the police that a new trend has started by groups of youths called 'beaning.'"

Heinz Baked Beans
Cans of Heinz baked beans on a supermarket shelf, 2017. Matthew Horwood/Getty Images

"This involves youths throwing the contents of a can of beans over properties, very similar to the trend of throwing eggs at properties," she said. "If you work in a shop, please can you be aware of youths buying large quantities of cans of beans, [and] if you have children living at home, please be mindful if you see them removing cans of beans from the family home."

Beaning appears to have caught the attention of police last month, though it was not yet understood to be part of a larger trend. In mid-August, the English town of Waverly saw a series of crimes in which baked beans had been poured over houses and cars, stumping officers.

Newsweek has contacted the West Yorkshire Police Department for further comment but did not receive an immediate response.