Forget Feathers McGraw, there's a new airborne criminal menace on the loose.
Cigarette-loving sparrow sets fire to shop
A sparrow with a habit of feathering its nest with cigarette ends caused a fire at a shop that caused £250,000-worth of damage.
An investigation immediately after the fire found no electrical or gas faults. But six weeks on from the blaze, the 48-year-old was told by insurance investigators that they discovered 35 cigarette ends in the roof.
Their conclusion was that a sparrow must have picked up a smouldering butt to feather its nest in the roof's eaves, thus causing the blaze.
Sniffing the air with his keen smoker-bashing supersense, ASH spokesman Martin Dockrell was quickly on the scene to comment **.
"The government isn't doing enough to stop young birds getting hold of cigarettes",he told a spotty trainee hack from the Lincolnshire Star, who promptly submitted it as copy without checking, so that idiots could read and believe it unquestioningly.
"This tragedy could have been avoided if the bird had made its nest out of nicotine replacement products instead, available at Tesco, Sainsburys and all good pharmacies for £16 for 2 days' supply. Kerching!
Overwhelming research, that someone at Pfizer made up just now and texted to me, proves that more than 60,000 sparrows are attracted to cigarettes after seeing the evil tobacco industry display in their local sweet shop. The debate is over. They then fly into their local pub and buy their fags from a vending machine. Anyone who challenges this evidence is as bad as a holocaust denier.
For the sake of our children, we must halt this growing menace of passive ornithological sidestream shop-burning, which probably might perhaps kill 400,000 people a year in 2009, by the instant banning of tobacco displays and by tipping vending machines over and using them as nice coffee tables for the hordes of non-smoking birds that will flock to pubs as a result.
Oh yeah, did I tell you that nicotine replacement products are fab and you should tell everyone to buy them? I did? Oh, OK."
** He wasn't, and he didn't, I just lied ... like he usually does.