Zombies take over Sheffield factory

Zombie Roleplay event held at the former Stanley Tool factory in Sheffield
Zombie Roleplay event held at the former Stanley Tool factory in Sheffield
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You wouldn’t want to meet this lot on a dark night...

Or perhaps you would, because it seems zombie-hunting is one of the fastest growing crazes around.

Zombie Roleplay event held at the former Stanley Tool factory in Sheffield

Zombie Roleplay event held at the former Stanley Tool factory in Sheffield

Inspired by the gory excitement of cult TV hit The Walking Dead, fans are flocking to sites to zap the flesh-munching, dead-eyed monsters.

Sheffield is becoming a key centre for the fun, with three-hour slaughter sessions based at the disused Stanley Tools factory on Rutland Road, Neepsend, north of the city centre. ZombieXperience – a company created by entrepreneur Dan Hatton, aged 34, last August – is running the action at £70 a time.

“Sheffield is one of our two current centres and in the Stanley Tools building we think we have the best site in the country,” he said.

“To be honest people are more scared of the old factory than they are of the zombies. It’s scary before you start, and then when it gets dark it’s a really terrifying atmosphere.”

Zombie Roleplay event held at the former Stanley Tool factory in Sheffield

Zombie Roleplay event held at the former Stanley Tool factory in Sheffield

Company employees play the zombies and create the authentic make-up needed for any self-respecting member of the living dead.

The factory’s first session since its reopening involved more than 60 hunters. In future it is hoped events will run three times a week, on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

“At the moment it’s all going absolutely mad – people said it was just a fad but we’re seeing no sign of that so far,” Dan said.

“Our zombies look the best and these are people who are paying to be shot - and they love it.”

Fans are equipped with airsoft guns, which are either basic models or can be upgraded to replica assault rifles or fully automatic pistols.

Sheffield is Dan’s main base but he also runs events in Gloucester and plans a third venue on a disused prison site near Leicester.