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‘Ugly prostitute’ story proves online smash for daily

A top-selling regional daily saw its web traffic soar with a story about a man who phoned police to complain about an unattractive prostitute.

The Black Country-based Express & Star broke the unusual story yesterday after eagle-eyed social media editor Mike Woods spotted a humourous Tweet from Solihull Police.

Despite being off-patch, the story reached 21,000 hits – around 16,000 more than the next most-read story on the site – and went viral, being picked up by national media and shared hundreds of times on Twitter and Facebook.

The bizarre report came from a man who contacted officers saying the prostitute should have action taken against her for breaching the Sale of Goods Act for “making herself out to be better looking than she was”.

The paper also managed to get hold of a recording of the call, to go alongside the original story.

The paper also got hold of the recording of the call

Mike spotted the Tweet sent out from Solihull Police’s account and said he thought that despite the story being from outside the paper’s usual area, it was bizarre enough to still be of interest to readers.

“We put a call in to the press office, who gathered a few details on the case and sent it through to us,” he said.

“I then remembered that the force had previously released audio of 999 calls from time wasters, and asked if they’d consider doing the same in this case.

“The press officer agreed it was a good idea and went away to check with legal services and others.  They quickly made the audio available to embed on our website, which really brought the story to life.

“It was all anyone was talking about on our Twitter feed. I don’t think people could quite believe it was true. It was one of those stories that was so unusual, it didn’t matter where it had taken place.”

The Tweet which started it all - Express & Star social media editor Mike Woods spotted the post from Solihull Police


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  • June 14, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    Solihill Police’s Twitter feed is well known for its quirky style so always worth a look. Sounds as if WM Police’s press office was unusually helpful as well…

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  • June 18, 2013 at 9:01 am

    Indeed on both counts.
    Intriguing too that the tweet seemingly wasn’t picked up by B’ham media, given that it went out on the evening of the 11th, and that the E&S story is dated the 14th.

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