"Where is this phantom poo?" Park inspector alleging poocrime refuses to disclose location of poo

A local council in the UK has decided not to prosecute an accused park pooper's owner, which seems just as well, since she claimed there was no poo in the first place and the poo inspector could not identify the alleged poo in question.

Amber Langtry, 35, was walking her dog with a friend on New Year's Day when a lone Tower Hamlets Enforcement Officer accused her of not clearing up after her pet.

When she explained to the officer that he'd made a mistake and asked to see the offending evidence, he refused to show her, then pointed to a spot in the opposite direction to where Miss Langtry's dog had been. He then proceeded to issue her with a ticket and called the police.

It's a fantastic video, pitting an ineffective but invincible jobsworth against angry but self-controlled normals. Standout lines include "where is this phantom poo?", "non-compliance of female" and "there isn't even a poo, is there?"

Catnado strikes Britain

A small tornado that struck Chobham, England, left 13,000 without power over the weekend—and was said to have "lifted cats in the air."

Local fire crews also found extensive damage to trees and roofs from the storm, which also dumped hail and heavy rain on the county of Surrey, the BBC reported.

"We've got four feral cats in the yard and they were being lifted off the ground - about 6ft off the ground," said area woman Shirley Clay, adding that the animals were uninjured by the ordeal. "They just went round like a big paper bag."

Serious tornados are extremely rare in Britain, though the tabloids there claim weather data proves the nation is a 'hotspot' of miniature whirlwinds that usually go unnoticed.

Chobham 'mini-tornado lifted cats in air'

"Slaves" freed in London

A 69 year-old Malaysian woman, an Irishwoman, 57, and a Briton, 30, were all rescued from a house in south London this week, reports the BBC. A couple, both 67, are under arrest—and accused of holding the women as slaves for 30 years.

Student removed from school lessons after shaving head for charity

Rhys Johnson, 14, shaved his head to raise cash for medical research after three of his relatives were diagnosed with cancer. His school, Milford Haven School in Pembrokeshire, Wales, took him out of class for breaking its "haircut rules," leading to a 250-kid walkout of the school. The BBC reports:

On Thursday, a Pembrokeshire County Council spokesperson said: "School policy is set by a school's governing body and implemented by the head teacher and school staff.

"When this policy is disregarded by a pupil - and in this instance the policy has been clearly communicated to the pupil concerned - the school is acting appropriately in enforcing its policy."

Note the dismissive, yet evasive bureacratic tone! And the fact that the BBC gave an official spokesperson, of a publicly-funded government body, the cloak of anonymity behind which to further criticize a child.

UK to ban private investigation without a license

Working as an private detective is to be made illegal in England and Wales without a "license." The BBC:

The Home Office said it wanted to "ensure rigorous standards" in an industry where "rogue investigators" had been infringing privacy. Those who break the new rules - to be rolled out from autumn 2014 - could face up to six months in jail.

Unicorn proceeds through customs

Everyone's all worked up at the fact that Emily Harris, 9, was able to proceed through through customs with a passport that identified her as a unicorn. What do these tabloids have against unicorns? [The Sun]

Badger Swagger

The backstory: the British government is imposing an unpopular badger cull for questionable reasons.

Three Friends, a Breakdown, and a Lawsuit

Two and a half years ago, James Siddle moved to London for a new job; in two weeks time, he’ll be moving out to a small town in the country, defeated.

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The rogue reptiles of the River Thames

The Fortean Times' Neil Arnold surveys the current monstrous inhabitants of the Thames and its tributaries, and the not-so-cryptozoological creatures that they might turn out to be: "There have even been reports of alligators."

Creators remember Knightmare, the pioneering VR adventure show

Knightmare was a fantastic childrens' adventure show that ran on British TV in the 1980s. A youngster, wearing a vision-blinding helmet, would be guided around a giant virtual reality castle by a team of his or her peers, which issued instructions from dungeon master Treguard's chambers. Though defined by its technical limitations, Knightmare built a cult following thanks to its pioneering blue-screen setup—hence the blindfolding—and merciless treatment of contestants. The Guardian's Ben Child interviewed creator Tim Child and star Hugo Myatt and found that the production was itself something of a bad dream. Embedded above is the show's intro and a short documentary about it. Then you may enjoy a a selection of deaths.

Black Mirror episode 2: White Bear and the culture of desensitization

The last episode of Black Mirror’s second season airs tonight on UK Channel 4.

Do you remember the first profoundly shocking image you saw on the internet? Perhaps it would have been something you came across by accident; perhaps you followed, half horrified and half compelled, a trail of digital whispers to see if you could handle it.

Maybe you don’t remember the first one, but you remember some of them. Maybe you shut the window, sick at yourself, at the glimpse of a woman’s eyes glassed with something unsettling, not staged. Maybe you lingered on eruptions, lacerations, in spite of yourself. To see if the image could possibly be real.

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Ultimate British tabloid headline

Alex Balk spotted the best Daily Mail headline in recent memory: "Love-rat dad of nine children to eight women who headbutted ex-girlfriend in row over cheese toastie jailed for just 20 days."

The Unbearable Lightness Of Being British

Photo: Shimelle (cc)

The epithets attached to the Olympic opening ceremony piled up: eclectic, spectacular, monumental, shambolic, parochial, world-beating, hideous, embarrassing, filmic, and even inspiring. In its parts, the spectacle was all of these things because of the whole, which formed a gush of free-floating anxiety, a confession on a therapist’s couch.

Many commented on the ceremony’s focus on times past, in what viewers outside of Britain took as a flamboyant history lesson or, less charitably, as a statement of a country with no future. This was, however, no simple portrayal of past events, but a raid conducted to shore up a particular view that exists at this time; a malaise suffered here and now.

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The Luvilee Jubilee: underwhelmed by opposition to Her Majesty's Big Day

There was little surprise at Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee, but that's probably the point. Dutifully present were the Queen, the rain, the warm beer and the National Health Service glasses and teeth (I can say this, I’m British) and, surreally, hundreds of photographic Queen masks handed out for free. Parts of the crowd looked like a monarchist V for Vendetta; R for Regina?

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The shite food of Britain

The Shite Food blog reviews some of the remarkable foodstuffs available in Britain: the microwave meals and boil-in-bag dregs of another level in the English-speaking consumerspace.

Shite Food was started as an antidote to the middle class ‘food porn’ programmes on television. Tired of seeing Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Nigella Lawson spunk the average persons food budget for the week on one meal, I thought it was time for a dose of reality. Britain’s cuisine has supposedly improved immeasurably since the 70′s but, lurking behind the ‘Finest’ and ‘Taste the Difference’ ranges in our supermarkets are some true culinary horrors. We want to highlight the supermarkets who market poor quality, nutritionally dubious, crappy food to those on low incomes to make a quick quid.

Shite Food: Britain's Gastronomic Horrors [via Thomas Sturm]