Following a break-in last Thursday night, staff at the International Bureau of Weights and Measures in Sèvres, France, have discovered that their tablespoon is missing. The tablespoon is one of several standard units of measurement kept at the bureau, along with the metre, the kilogram, three double decker buses and an area the size of Wales.

Although the spoon itself has little intrinsic value, the repercussions of its loss will be keenly felt by the many cooks, chefs and bakers who will now have to rely on teaspoons and cupfuls as the only reliable means of measuring their ingredients. In the meantime, acting on a tip off, police have cordoned off a section of downtown Sèvres roughly the size of three football pitches.


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