21 MARCH 1992, Page 52

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In Competition No. 1719 you were in- vited to invent `snibs' — silly or surrealist `news in brief' items.

The most remarkable feature of this competition, apart from the high standard of wit and inventiveness, was the fact that two of the prizewinners live, unknowingly, I suspect, in the same block of flats, only six numbers away from each other. I've distributed the prize money widely: many of you succeeded in being funny once, nobody four times. Each item printed earns £4, and-the bonus bottle of Chivas Regal 12-year-old de luxe blended whisky is Noel Petty's.

A burglar caught by Southampton police was released when it transpired he had broken into cV-1.riTAS REev 12 YEAR OLD SCOTCH WHISKY his own house. 'It was pitch black and the houses are all the same,' he explained.

William Thorpe's labrador, Rover, disappeared the day he moved from Pontypool to Richmond (Yorks). Six weeks later, Rover has appeared on the doorstep of . . a William Thorpe of Richmond (Surrey).

(Noel Petty) A man claiming to be 'collecting the wealth tax' took more thac £80,000 from unsuspecting householders in the Canterbury area yesterday. Vegetarian 'turkeys' will be on sale next Christ- mas, according to a Norfolk firm which plans to market textured soya protein moulded into an 'exact replica' of a trussed fowl.

(Peter Norman) Thousands of natterjack toads have invaded a Norfolk coastal village. 'They are supposed to stay on the dunes and be an endangered species,' said a local councillor.

(D. B. Jenkinson) Farewell to the doughnut! The latest EC direc- tive has rocked the nation's gustatory traditions by forbidding the word 'nut' in all foodstuffs not specifically containing nuts. (Ba Miller) Ronald Cartwright, senior printer at the Nor- manton Diary Company, was fired yesterday following the discovery that he had omitted 17 March, the anniversary of his divorce, from 12,000 diaries. (Paul Brummell) Dustbins in Lambeth are to be painted to resemble giant Pepsi tins and crisp packets, the most common items of litter in the borough, as a reminder of their function.

(D. A. Prince) A performance of Chopin's 'Raindrops' Prelude was abruptly halted when Stockton Town Hall's sprinkler system was activated by an usher smoking in a corridor.

(Gerard Benson) Tripe is to be banned from some Lancashire restaurants after it was discovered that the stomach lining of local cattle had been con- taminated by water from Yorkshire springs.

(Katie Mallett)

A Dublin High Court member has brought a complaint against Deutsche Bundesbahn to the EC Court of Justice after seeing women passen- gers entering a compartment carrying the in- scription ABORT.

(Gunner Pedersen) Religious leaders in India are protesting against the introduction of new helmets for Sikh police- men. These helmets, which are made of rein- forced fibre-glass shaped and coloured to repre- sent a conventional turban, are seen as con- travening religious law.

(John Sweetman) Buckingham Palace has acted to minimise con- troversy over Princess Diana's Mercedes. A spokesperson confirmed that the car was actual- ly constructed by British workmen in Stuttgart under an exchange with Ford of Dagenham.

(Dick Prosser) A fly that eats spiders has been discovered in Uganda, reports the World Health Organisa- tion.

(Gabriel Bowman) During a soccer match near Minsk, the players complained that the ball was too heavy. Inves- tigation revealed it contained seven other balls of decreasing sizes.

(Chas F. Garvey) Some London councils have banned the term 'short list' because it could offend midgets applying for jobs.

A Tokyo man who tears phone directories into flower patterns has become the first origami black belt.

(Peter Veale) The EC butter mountain has turned rancid. The butter has now been re-designated 'dubbin', and is being issued to poor European farmers for the purpose of greasing boots.

(N. E. Soret) Millionaire pop star Ted Gory links with his working-class roots by having a weekly pay packet sent to him in Switzerland.

(T. Griffiths)