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News In Brief – from around the regions

BIG JUGS FOR SALE: Saucy signs in shop windows have come under fire in Edinbrugh.

One city bar has a huge poster on an outside wall declaring: “Big Jugs Well Hung”. Small print explains that the jugs are pitchers of beer and the poster has been well hung.

The latest example of what the Edinburgh Evening News calls an increasingly popular trend to market shops with sexual word-play, comes from a furniture shop with peep-holes in window advertisements declaring “Strippers” and “Huge Chests”.

Shopkeepers say it’s harmless fun but a local councillor wants the signs to be taken down, saying they give “a sleazy impression of Edinburgh that we want to avoid”.

MOUSE HUNT ENDS: A mechanical golden mouse valued at £90,000 is on its way home after a six-year adventure.

The two-inch-long pearl-covered mouse – believed to be one of only six in the world – was stolen from the John and Josephine Bowes Museum at Barnard Castle, County Durham, in 1994, by raiders who pulled it through a tiny gap in its display case by its gold whiskers.

The Yorkshire Evening Post reported that an expert spotted it for sale in an auction catalogue. The mouse is being looked after by police before being returned to the museum, and a man has been arrested in connection with the theft.

THE FINAL PIECE: The death of an inventor whose creation gave peace of mind to jigsaw fans was reported by the Cambridge Evening News.

Retired accountant Leslie Pratt, of Barton, created the Jigroll, a cylindrical invention which allows incomplete jigsaw puzzles to be rolled up and stored until they can be completed. Puzzles are laid between two pieces of felt, which are rolled up with a special tube, preventing the pieces from bending or curling, even if left for years.

PC MAKES WAVES: Traffic cop Graham Warboys swapped his squad car for a jetski to nab two theft suspects.

The Colchester Evening Gazette told how he rolled up his trouser legs and ditched his boots after being alerted to the yatch off Shoebury West Beach. PC Warboys commandeered a jetski, got the rider to ferry him to the boat and told the people on board to row back. Two people were arrested.

GAME FOR SOME CASH: From the Yorkshire Evening Post’s front page comes the story of a woman who was forced to dress up in a padded sumo wrestler outfit and fight a workmate during a “bonding evening” with colleagues.

What should have been a bit of fun turned nasty when Anne Shackley lost her balance and cracked her head on a concrete floor. The High Court was told that she developed epilepsy after the accident. She was awarded £275,000 compensation by her former employer, medical supply firm Depuy International.

DRIVEN QUACKERS: Drivers were held up on a Lincolnshire road when a family of 14 ducks moved home.

The Lincolnshire Echo reported that the mother duck and her 13 chicks disrupted traffic on Newark Road, North Hykeham, after moving from the grounds of an Asda supermarket where they had been nesting.

NO PLACE LIKE HOME: Community leaders in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, have spent four years tracking down every place around the globe which shares their name. They found 30 other Mansfields, reported the Nottingham Evening Post, and representatives from ten of them are joining a celebration in the county this weekend.

Their research uncovered that Mansfield, Alaska, was named after a US naval commander and the Mansfield in Indiana has 24 inhabitants – and two of them are coming to the party in the UK Mansfield.

MIRACLE ESCAPE: The Bournemouth Echo has reported on the miracle escape of three-year-old Michael Foy, who fell 18 feet out of a window on to a concrete drive at his home, and escaped unscathed.

The toddler’s eight-year-old brother, Mark, who dialled for an ambulance, said: “I’d left the window open because I was seeing if my friends were out. It was a mistake and I want other children to learn.”

THE OFFICE JUNIOR IS 84: After 35 years as a bank manager, and an illustrious war record, 84-year-old Dudley de Mestre would be forgiven for taking it easy.

Instead, the Southern Daily Echo told readers, he’s keeping busy as the country’s oldest office junior at photographic studios in Ringwood, Hampshire.

His duties include slicing films, trimming prints, making tea, working on reception and invoicing.

“I love my job – I wouldn’t give it up for anything. It keeps my brain active,” he said.

MEERKAT AT HOME: Mervyn the meerkat is the latest addition to a Cornish couple’s menagerie.

Rejected by the meerkat colony at Newquay Zoo, Mervyn has been taken in by Peter Bullen and Susan Clinton at their home in Todpool, near Truro. He joins 10 cats, two dogs and several ferrets.

“He thinks he’s the family sentry,” Peter told the Western Morning News. “If anyone comes near the house, Mervyn rears up at the window and glares.”

ROCK LEGACY: A young musician will get the chance to play a replica of rock legend Rory Gallagher’s guitar.

The £5,000 Stratocaster has been donated to Instrument Amnesty – which gives young people wider access to music – by the late star’s brother, Donal. It was painstakingly created, based on the instrument for which Rory paid £100 at the age of 15.

“Every little gash and indentation that was made on the guitar was replicated,” Donal told the Irish News.

CAPP THAT: Sculptor John Dawson is appealing for help to make a life-sized statue of Andy Capp.

He has moulded a mini-version of the Mirror cartoon character and is seeking sponsors so that he can make a scale model in tribute to Andy’s creator, the late Reg Smythe, who hailed from Hartlepool.

“I know he is loved and treasured by the people of Hartlepool,” John told the Northern Echo. “We value him as part of the heritage of the town.”

WAXWORK HORROR: From the Bradford Telegraph & Argus comes the painful tale of a barman and a regular from a local watering hole who agreed to have their chests waxed if customers raised £100 sponsorship for children’s charity the NSPCC.

Graham Smith, deputy manager of the Chicago Rock Cafe, said: “I was on the door, but I could hear their screams.”

TON-UP LEN: A Birmingham man who claims to be Britain’s oldest motorcyclist celebrated his 100th birthday by riding past Buckingham Palace.

Wolverhampton’s Express and Star reported that Len Vale Onslow started riding motorbikes when he was eight or nine and has vowed he will never give it up.

He was made an MBE in 1995 for his services to motorcycling and has more than 400 trophies.

THAT’S ME – HONEST!: The warrior-like looks of a 6ft 2ins, bearded bit-part stuntman caught the eye of director Ridley Scott and won him an important role in the blockbuster film Gladiator.

Chick Allan, from Midlothian, was pulled out of a crowd of extras to play a German warrior who is eventually murdered by LA Confidential star Russell Crowe, the Edinburgh Evening News reported.

Chick said he could not get over seeing his name on the big screen – but sadly he was credited as Chick Allen, instead of Chick Allan.

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