A brotherhood of bearded hipsters – who have already been visited by counterterrorism police after being mistaken for ISIS fanatics – converged on Liverpool today.
The Bearded Villains, which draws Instagram members, had its biggest Nordic encounter in town.
The shaggy organization describes itself as an “elite brotherhood of bearded men” from around the world.
Ben Pritchard, 25, Wallasey’s north captain, told ECHO: “This is the biggest meeting to date – the first time members from different chapters have come together.
“It was supposed to be just a northern encounter, but people came from Ireland and Scotland and traveled from Wales and southern England.”
The meeting took place at the Richard John Blackler pub on Great Charlotte Street.
The bearded villain movement started in 2014 and quickly spread.
In Sweden last month, police were called after a panicked member of the public mistook their black flag, which features two crossed swords, for the banner of ISIS.
Members say the “three pillars” of the group are loyalty, respect and honor and an emphasis on philanthropy.
Ben was among 12 villains who climbed Snowdon in September, raising £ 2,000 for Barnardos.
Members also sold poppies in Liverpool city center.
Richard Christian, UK vice-captain, said: “Some people are just there for the social media platform, but for us the focus is on making real friendships.
The heart of it is offline – meeting in person and doing some charity work. “
Men who wish to become full members must show goodwill and have high facial hair.
Richard, 28, said: “One guy was really keen to join us, but he just had a stylish beard. This is not going to cut it unfortunately.
We gave it four weeks to get up to speed.
“Some men have shocking beards – but if they show massive loyalty, they might stand a chance.”
“It’s an amazing experience to be a part of the Bearded Villains.
“I have a busy life – I have a partner, a lot of friends – but it’s different.
“I had never done charity work before joining them and now I’m really involved in it all.”
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