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BACKCHAT - TOULMIN SMITH

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Exterminate!...
Exterminate!

It appears New Forest DC has teamed up with Doctor Who to help it with its latest quest. Council boffins have what looks like a dalek strapped to a high-tech quad bike.

The device's range of lasers will be used to scan the coastal terrain to monitor the speed of erosion and enable 3D mapping of the coastline.

Send for Buttman

A bright blue walking cigarette packet called 'Buttman' is touring the Yorkshire Dales as part of Richmondshire DC's efforts to deter smokers from discarding cigarette ends.

The unfortunate person inside the costume will no doubt suffer sniggers from some as the phrase 'Butts out' is emblazoned across its top.

I wonder if Buttman would change his name were he ever to visit the United States?

High price of poo

Swale BC takes cleaning up its local environment very seriously, I am pleased to report, and pooh poohs anyone who doesn't play ball. The council has just prosecuted a dog owner for falling foul of the law. His pooch's mess cost him£500 because he repeatedly failed to clear up excrement from a shared patio outside his home. The council served an abatement notice ordering him to remove and dispose of the faeces and 'keep it in a clean and tidy condition'. We assume the 'it' in question is the patio and not the dog mess.

Crazy talk at Breckland

Breckland DC rushed out an apology after two senior councillors took mental health less than seriously following a presentation by the Norfolk & Waveney Mental Health Partnership Trust.

Councillors heard that a quarter of the population face mental illness at some stage, which led chairman Roy Rudling (Con) to remark: 'So 25% of us are nutty'.

Told any resident could apply to join the trust's patient and public involvement forum, Tory councillor Earl Cathcart, a hereditary peer, asked: 'Even if they are mental?'

Everybody hide

Department for Communities & Local Government civil servants have found time to practice bomb alerts while Ruth Kelly suns herself abroad.

Many have been advised to seek shelter in the kitchen, toilet or photocopying room while suspect packages are dealt with.

With an imminent threat to life certain to overcome shyness in a manner only usually brought about by booze at the Christmas party, is it possible that some might find the temptation of a closed room and a photocopier too much?

Cutting-edge Carlisle

Never let it be said that Carlisle doesn't do anything for young people. The council is proud to be hosting a major music event this autumn, so proud, in fact, that it has been sending out press releases to all and sundry.

So who are the superstars preparing to rock the city? Will Carlisle become the Glastonbury of the north? Sadly not - the concert is staging comebacks by 80s chart-toppers including ABC, Toyah Wilcox and Howard Jones. So if you see officers sporting pink mohicans and threatening to 'turn this world inside out,'

you'll know why.

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