Persistent shoplifter Darren Marlboro of East Sussex has been handed down an unusual sentence after having been found guilty of attempting to dishonestly acquire an oven-ready chicken and a packet of firelighters from a supermarket in his home town. Presiding Judge, Mr Marcus Crumble (QC), has ordered that Mr Marlboro should complete a 'trolley dash', in which he will be given ten minutes to load up his shopping trolley with as many free items as he can lay his hands on.
Supermarket bosses are, understandably, less than satisfied with this sentence, particularly since they will be footing the bill, but Judge Crumble is adamant that the punishment will stand. "When I was a young nipper, my father caught me behind the stable block smoking a cigarette," explained the deluded old fart. "As a punishment he made me smoke the whole packet until I was sick. A strange penalty, you might think - but, do you know, I have never smoked another cigarette from that day to this."
It is Judge Crumble's belief that the same deterrent that worked for him as a small boy all those years ago will have a similar effect on a thirty-two year old habitual thief today. "Mr Marlboro will be forced to help himself to other people's property until he is sick, after which I am entirely confident that he will never feel the urge to steal again."
Villagers in Nottinghamshire are celebrating after raising over £4000 to help fund vital research into locating a set of keys lost over ten years ago. The East Bridgford Find My Keys Project was set up in 2003 after semi-professional jelly mould designer Keith Mortice mislaid his keys following an evening at a local nightclub.
Initially funding the search from his own savings, Keith spent three days turning his house upside down, during which time he undertook a thorough investigation of the gap behind the fridge and a systematic analysis of the cupboard under the sink. These efforts having proven fruitless, he subsequently widened his area of activity by retracing his steps back to the club. However, the money soon ran out, bringing Keith's efforts to a halt, and it was only after receiving donations from concerned locals that he was able to resume.
To date the East Bridgford Find My Keys Project has raised enough capital for Keith to conduct extensive searches of five counties, has paid for the services of a private detective, facilitated the commissioning of a spectrographic analysis of Keith's garage and finally provided the means for him to replace the carpet in his front room.
So far no trace of the missing keys has been uncovered.
Despite the lack of success, Keith remains hopeful that his keys will eventually be found, and is delighted that the influx of cash from this latest fundraising effort will allow him to extend the search still further.
"I'm flying out to the Seychelles tonight," he told us when we found him at home, trying on the new beachwear that he'd just bought. "I've had information that my keys were spotted lying in a rock pool on Assumption Island and I want to check it out before the tide has chance to wash them out to sea."
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*As far as we're aware, no one has yet invented bacon shoes, but when they do we'll be ready.
It was just over a year ago that the first case of 'house pox' was reported. It came to light in Sunderland after Mr Iain Bolan noticed a series of small, regular bulges in the brickwork of his bungalow as he left for work one morning. By the time he returned home, these bulges had broken out into a pattern of swollen red marks.
Neither Iain's doctor nor any of the local building firms could offer any help or explanation and eventually Iain had to contact a fancy house doctor in that there London. The house doctor diagnosed the outbreak as a new and dangerously virulent strain of property pox, told Iain to slather the walls liberally in calamine lotion and charged him three hundred and fifty quid.
Since that time, numerous other cases of house pox have come to light, affecting residential properties, public buildings and businesses. At the time of writing, reports are rapidly approaching epidemic proportions.
Vaccinations for houses are available, but sadly no one has yet developed a syringe sturdy enough to deliver them. For this reason it has been suggested that a cull is the only practical way forward, meaning that properties deemed to be most at risk of infection will be bulldozed, even if they currently display no symptoms of contagion.
This action, the government believes, will prevent further transmission of the disease, but there remains considerable concern that the proposed demolition sites are predominantly in deprived areas of low-cost and social housing.
When this was pointed out to the minister in charge, his reply was "And?"
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Stuffed with new material and old favourites, Recalled to Life is 280 pages of plumptiousness and very probably exactly what you need to prop up that wonky old table in the kitchen.
Find out more here.
Across the Atlantic by land
The latest in laser eye surgery
Stealing horses to order
A catalogue of catastrophic failure
The XII Fish Olympiad
"The scientific community has been rocked to its foundations..."
"The latest pyrotechnic technology..."
There is a new concept in fast food on the horizon with the introduction of the UK's first Soup Station. Soup Stations are already big news in Denmark, where they use the same technology that we are already familiar with on petrol forecourts. Customers can drive up to the pumps and fill up with a variety of different soups, then pay at a special kiosk, where they can also purchase breadsticks, napkins or brake fluid.
Soups currently available are tomato, minestrone and unleaded. It was hoped that leek and potato would be available by now, but in initial trials it proved to be too thick and kept clogging the nozzles. Research continues.
"The caverns were closed to the public for their annual hosing down..."
"One of the most controversial musicians of recent years..."
"Welcome to today's edition of Diagnosis..."
"Frogs can jump ten times their own bodyweight..."more...
of the Bleeding Obvious
All material Copyright © Paul Farnsworth 2000-2014, and may not be reproduced without the express permission of the author. All characters, companies and organisations are fictitious, and any similarity to persons living or dead is entirely coincidental.