Traditional Shrovetide Ball Game takes place in Atherstone

The Shrovetide Ball Game Credit: PA

In a rural town in Warwickshire, Shrove Tuesday means only one thing: the Shrovetide Ball Game.

Streets are deserted and shops boarded up, as the main street through Atherstone becomes crowded with adrenalin-fuelled contesters.

To those unfamiliar with the event, the rules are simple: at 3pm a ball is thrown from the town's Barclays Bank balcony, and hundreds of competitors tussle to obtain possession of it by the sound of the klaxon at 5pm.

The game, which celebrated its 800th anniversary in 1999, is considered one of the oldest traditions in Britain.