A lone sunbather, complete with a deckchair, beachwear and sun cream yesterday decided to soak up some rays in Republic Street, Valletta, causing quite a stir among passers-by.

After setting up his deckchair in front of Parliament and taking his shoes and socks off, Cedric Vella, of Iklin, sat back and appeared to doze off for a short while, until police turned up and ordered him to move on.

Undeterred, he moved a few metres down the street and set up again in front of the Law Courts, to the amusement of many. A crowd gathered and just stood and watched, not knowing what to make of Mr Vella's apparent desire to lap up the Mediterranean sun in the middle of the capital city's busiest street.

A few men started swearing at him and saying he should "go to the beach" rather than engage in such shenanigans in the middle of Valletta. They also said he should go "back to his own country", blissfully unaware Mr Vella was Maltese.

People watching him were also oblivious to the fact Mr Vella was merely performing for a prank video, which is intended to be put up on YouTube. It marks the first in a series of videos Mr Vella, and his friend Mauro Busuttil, of Attard, who was filming the whole charade incognito, intend to put up on the video-sharing website.

Mr Busuttil said: "We just decided earlier this week to make a few funny videos to put on YouTube. We've had a laugh doing this one so far."

Yesterday evening, reports came in that Mr Vella was seen the day before in Sliema, where the reaction was much cheerier. James Herrera, from Kappara, said: "People were pointing and laughing and taking pictures on their mobile phones. I can't understand the angry reactions he got in Valletta. I took it very lightly when I saw him."

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