Authorities have reported an increase in offshore biscuit eating in order to avoid tax. Most biscuits, as your accountant will tell you, are zero rated. The exceptions are those partially or wholly covered in chocolate, which are subject to a 20% tax. Clearly this makes them significantly more expensive for youngsters without the benefit of a private income or a cushy job with the family firm, and has led to a craze for offshore biscuit parties.
Biscuit parties - or cookie collectives as you may have heard them referred to on popular television programmes - take place outside UK territorial waters where tax laws cannot be enforced. They are usually attended by groovy young teenagers with long hair and transistor radios playing the latest fab new sounds. It's a crazy scene where, in their own words, kids can just 'chill out' without getting any 'hassle' from 'the man', and where they are free to eat as many Chocolate Hobnobs as they like.
Of course, it's all perfectly legal and there is currently nothing that Her Majesty's law enforcement officers can do about it. But that's not to say that everyone is happy with the situation, particularly not the Maritime and Coastguard agency, who are taking these latest developments very seriously.
"It be a mighty nuisance, an' no mistake," said Mad One-eyed Peg Leg O'Davy, Director of Maritime Safety and Standards. "These 'ere young 'uns going out in all weathers, paddling around on rafts made out of Jaffa Cakes with chocolate fingers for oars - it ain't natural, I tell 'ee. Sooner or later, someone's gonna come a right cropper."
Indeed, there have already been several close calls: air sea rescue have been called out on two occasions, and in a separate incident an impromptu biscuit party in the North Sea had to be hastily abandoned after it was struck by a tanker.
In spite of these and similar events, nautical biscuit enthusiasts are resolute, claiming that it is their right as citizens to enjoy tax-free biscuits just as nature intended. Nevertheless, they have conceded that their approach so far has not been entirely practical and so they have bought an old trawler which they have refitted as a floating canteen. They hope to have it up and running and broadcasting chocolate chip cookies to the nation by next spring.