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'Busybody bureaucrats' have readers worried

European Union killjoys want offensive place names removed while a taste of Hollywood could be coming to the West Midlands.

Two of the less probable stories being published in local newspapers today.

Here begins a round-up of those 1 April stories editors are hoping will fool their readers while last year’s efforts can be seen here.

Please tell us about your April Fools’ Day jokes by emailing editor.htfp@and.co.uk.


The Sevenoaks Chronicle is telling readers that some of the area’s more risqué place names such as Badger’s Mount and Pratts Bottom have come to the attention of “busybody bureaucrats” within the European Union.

Editor Roger Kasper told HTFP that a couple from a place called The Butts had been in touch to say the paper “had them worried”. The story can be seen below.


A touch of glamour could be coming to the beautiful Malvern Hills, west of Worcester, reports the Worcester News.

A huge sign in the style of the iconic Hollywood lettering could be installed at the popular tourist spot, visible for miles, and costing around £200,000.


A mysterious naked gold man could be greeting visitors to the 2012 London Olympics, according to the Harlow Herald.

The Archant weekly says that Essex could be housing an ‘Angel of the North’ style sculpture near the M11 to welcome travellers landing at Stansted Airport.


The Whitstable Times reports that lady golfers have seized control of a local club, staging a coup by voting to disband the men’s section.

The Times told HTFP that the idea for the prank story was actually suggested to the paper by the club itself.


The Denbighshire Free Press in North Wales is running two spoofs. Its back page reports that Australian cricket legend Shane Warne has signed up for Denbigh cricket club, prompting one reader to send the paper a mock letter from Warne’s solicitors.

It is also running a competition to win an Easter egg big enough to feed an entire street for which it has already received some entries.


The Newbury Weekly News didn’t hold back and published three crank stories. Its sports pages reported plans for a new £1m ice hockey franchise with matches to be played on the outdoor pitch of a local rugby club.

It also carried the news that crude oil had been found beneath a park in the Berkshire town while its companion business website Newbury Business Today suggests that employers can reclaim tax by sending fruit peel to Her Majesty’s Customs and Revenue.


The Gloucestershire Echo suggested that the Government Communications Headquarters in Cheltenham was planning to rotate in a bid to pick up English language TV channels.

It told readers that, following the digital switchover, the base was stuck watching Welsh-language television.


Andy Naylor, chief sports writer with Brighton daily The Argus, told HTFP that the paper wanted to run a hard-to-believe but true story by way of a change.

After discussions with the chief executive of Brighton FC, The Argus told readers how special strip lighting would be used to change the colour at the away end of the club’s new stadium with each game, to match the colour of the visiting team.

A follow-up explaining that the story is true will be published tomorrow.