True Funny News Stories

World's oldest joke book

A Cambridge academic has uncovered what is believed to be the world's oldest joke book.

The third century book of gags from the Roman Empire is written in Greek and entitled Philogelos, which translates as Laughter Lover.

Professor Mary Beard says it debunks the popular myth that the Romans were 'pompous, toga-wearing bridge builders'.

"A lot of the books written during the Roman Empire were written in Greek and although they might not be side-splittingly funny, they do give us a fascinating insight," she told the Daily Telegraph.

Prof Beard, who came across it while researching ancient humour for a book, said the jokes were categorised into themes including 'the absentminded professor' and 'the charlatan prophet'.

"One of my favourite jokes from the book, and probably one of the longest, is about a barber, a professor and a bald man," she added.

Another dating back to 248AD when Rome held what was billed as the 'Millennium Games' - tells the story of a distraught athlete: "Never mind," says a spectator. "You can always try again at the next Millennium Games."

There is also an ancient version of the Monty Python dead parrot sketch.

It reads: "A man buys a slave, who dies soon after. When he complains, the slave seller replies, "Well, he didn't die when I owned him"."


Chocolate-powered racing car

The world's first environmentally-friendly racing car, made of vegetables and powered by chocolate, will be launched next month.

The 145mph ecoF3 has a steering wheel made of carrots, a body made of potatoes and a seat made of soybeans.

It is the first Formula 3 racing car designed and made from sustainable and renewable materials, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Designers hope the technology used in their car will be adopted by Formula 1 teams such as McLaren and Ferrari.

It uses plant-oil based lubricants and a biodiesel engine capable of running on chocolate and vegetable oil.

Vegetable fibres are mixed with resins to produce the car parts and the oils in the chocolate are refined to produce fuel.

The WorldFirst team, from Warwick University, hope racing chiefs will change the rules so they can compete in races next season.

The engine fails to meet current regulations because of its unusual fuel.

A team spokesman said: "We hope the Formula 1 teams will see that an environmentally friendly car is not necessarily a slow car.

"We expect our new materials to be used by the Formula 1 cars of the future."


'My interests include cooking dogs'

A survey of CV blunders reveals that job applicants are blowing their chances with gaffes such as listing their interests as "cooking dogs".

Experts found that 94% of job hunters risked missing out on vacancies through CV blunders such as poor spelling, grammar or presentation on their CVs.

Failure to use the comma led to embarrassing disclosures such as: "My interests include cooking dogs and interesting people."

In some cases, applicants' attempts to impress potential employers failed through the odd missed word, with phrases such as: "I was responsible for dissatisfied customers."

For others, the omission of a single letter consigned their CV to the dustbin: "I am a pubic relations officer."

From a sample of 450 CVs, researchers found that 81% were laden with spelling and grammatical errors, while nearly half were poorly laid out.

A mere six per cent were error-free, the study by career advisers Personal Career Management (PCM) concluded.

Mistakes were not confined to applicants for menial roles either - many of the CVs riddled with errors were drafted by CEOs, professionals and recent graduates, researchers said.

Corinne Mills, managing director of PCM, said: "Many of the people whose CVs end up in the waste paper bin are perfectly capable of doing the job. However, a poor CV means they will not get the opportunity to prove it.

"Why would anyone want to employ a lawyer or a secretary who makes spelling mistakes or errors? If they can't pay attention to their own CV, why would you trust them to work on any of your documents?"


PM's make-up routine left in cab

Confidential notes detailing how Gordon Brown should apply his make-up were left in a taxi.

The file containing Mr Brown's toilette routine was inside an aide's rucksack found in the back of a black cab at King's Cross station in London.

The confidential documents, handed to The Sun by the cab driver, also contained notes on how to tackle the expenses controversy and a schedule for Mr Brown's visit to Yorkshire.

The make-up instructions were as follows:

1. Transparent Brush. Foam all over.

2. Small pot under eyes, dimple, creases, blend in.

3. Clinique. Super balanced make-up. All over again, like painting a wall, and ears. Shut eyes over lids then with make-up pad smooth over liquid.

4. Powder (dark brush) terracotta Guerlain, all over.

A Downing Street spokesman said: "The bag was left by a junior member of staff and was returned."


Laughing man prompts rescue bid

A helicopter rescue team was scrambled after screams were heard in a German forest - only to find a man laughing his head off at a new book.

A woman dialled 999 after she thought she could hear someone being tortured at the woodland near Elmstein, western Germany.

But 'victim' Roland Hofmann was astonished when armed police surrounded his car which he had driven into the forest and ordered him to give himself up and release his hostage.

He told police he had gone to the forest to read "in peace and quiet".

"We realise that people think the sound of Germans laughing is unusual, but we're sure the caller meant well," said one officer.


TV licence demand sent to 16th century mathematician

A German mathematician who died 450 years ago has been sent a letter demanding that he pay for a TV licence. Germany’s GEZ sent the bill to the last home address of algebra expert Adam Ries, who bought the property in 1525.

"We received a letter saying ‘To Mr Adam Ries’ on it, with the request to pay his television and radio fees," said Annegret Muench, who now heads a club honouring the mathematician, which uses the house as its HQ.

Miss Muench returned the letter to the GEZ with a note explaining the request had come too late, as Ries had died in 1559. But she still received a reminder a few weeks later.


Cod save the Queen?

An Australian showing of the Oscar-winning film The Queen was turned into a farce by inept subtitles.

It turned the movie, being shown to an audience of deaf people in Sydney, into a comedy of errors.

"Buckingham Palace" appeared on screen as "Burking in Paris" while the question "did you vote?" flashed up as "dead in a boat".

When a character spoke about former prime minister Tony Blair being "educated at Fettes", it appeared on screen as "educated the fattest".

And the observation that "every newspaper proprietor has blood on his hands today" became "every newspaper proprietor has blown in his hands today".

The film chronicles the royal family's struggle to meet public expectations in reacting to the death of Princess Diana in a car crash in Paris in 1997.

The outdoor screening of the film was organised by Ryde Council whose spokesman Derek McCarthy conceded the captions were bizarre.

"The copy shown did have some spelling mistakes and interpretations of the script which affected the experience for the deaf community present," he told the Sydney Morning Herald.


Pensioner's radio sparks call to police

A bad-tempered German pensioner could be charged with wasting police time after complaining about loud music - from her own radio.

Elsie Weiss, 71, from Mulheim called police late at night to complain she couldn't sleep because of the noise.

But police who turned up to investigate found the music was coming from the pensioner's own radio that she had left on full volume in the back garden earlier in the day.

A police spokesman said they were considering sending her a bill for the time spent on the call and said:

"She had taken the radio outside and left it switched on full volume when she went inside," said a police spokesperson.

A neighbour said: "She always plays her music really loud - for once she gave herself a taste of her own medicine."


BBC gardening team advise cannabis caller

Police are investigating after BBC gardening experts gave a man advice when he asked about growing cannabis.

Jim McColl and his team on Radio Scotland’s Beech Grove Potting Shed misheard the caller and thought he asked about cabbage.

Experts spent more than three minutes telling him which compost to use and how to feed and water, says the Daily Record.

Then the host of the show, Frieda Morrison, told him: "OK, much success then. Keep going."

Morrison said they thought they were giving advice on growing cabbage because the caller spoke about a strain called Northern Lights - the name of a cabbage but also a variety of cannabis.

The weekly Radio Scotland phone-in invites listeners to "come in from the garden, take off your wellies and relax for an hour every Sunday".

Strathclyde Police said they were looking into the incident and had contacted Radio Scotland. They are involved because the phone-in was broadcast from Glasgow. Tayside Police were also planning to investigate, because the caller said he came from Perth.


Truancy officers blitz town when schools are shut

A blitz on children playing truant from school went wrong when it turned out that hundreds of pupils were on a day off.

Council officials have apologised for the blunder in which education officers and police hit the streets of North Tyneside to crack down on classroom absenteeism.

They were taking part in a regular one-day patrol targeting shopping centres and Metro stations to ensure that attendance was maintained.

But they were surprised to find that more than 1,400 pupils had good reason to be away from their classes - their schools were shut. They included youngsters from George Stephenson Community High School in Killingworth and Wallsend's Western Community High School.

A spokesman for North Tyneside Council said: "Unfortunately on this occasion something went slightly astray." He defended the truancy patrols saying: "They are very successful and we have done dozens of such projects over the years. They are well appreciated by parents and we certainly have better attendance records than in most comparable areas. They are usually well co-ordinated but on this occasion there appears to have been a slip-up. We apologise for that but in no way does it interfere with our determination to ensure that children are in school when they are supposed to be."

The spokesman would not comment on how many council or police officers were involved in last Thursday's operation.


Nightclub flirt loses dentures down woman's cleavage

A man who tried to chat up a woman in a German nightclub dropped his false teeth down her cleavage.

Shop assistant Tina Lange, 37, who met the man in a disco in Mannheim, said: "I wasn't very interested in him but when I was leaving he whispered in my ear: 'I hope we'll see each other again.'

"He then dropped something down my cleavage, which I thought was his phone number."

But when she later went to fish it from between her breasts, she found it was a plate of three false teeth.

She said: "If he wants his teeth back, he'll have to ring me."


Computer error means £2.3 trillion electricity bill

A man has received a bill from British Gas for £2.3 trillion after a computer mix-up.

Brian Law got an initial bill for £59 last November, but when he forgot to pay it, they sent him a final demand.

The demand for £2,320,333,681,613 was supposed to be for electricity supplied to Mr Law's new home at Fartown, Huddersfield.

The company warned they would take him to court if he didn't pay the bill in full immediately, reports the Yorkshire Post.

But Mr Law said he made numerous efforts to have the matter sorted out, but British Gas failed to return phone calls having left his number with representatives.

He said: "Eventually, I decided the only way I was going to sort it out was to go to court and offer a penny a week."

But after local media intervened, British Gas said there had been mistake with a computer mixing up the reference number for the property.

"We have agreed that I owe £59 and I will set up a direct debit for the future," said Mr Law.

A British Gas spokeswoman said Mr Law was told the bill was a "simple clerical mistake.


Police red-faced after hailing major cocaine coup

Police in Italy have released eight men after the haul of "cocaine" they were seized with turned out to be athletes foot powder.

Officers had announced to news organisations that they had busted a major international drugs ring after the men were arrested with a kilo of what they said was cocaine.

They were held in custody overnight while officers celebrated their "spectacular coup" at Modena in northern Italy.

But there were embarrassed faces all round when the lab report came back and confirmed the "cocaine" was in fact athletes foot powder.

The men were immediately released.

One said:''We tried to tell the police when they arrested us but they wouldn't listen. They just smiled at each other as they put the handcuffs on us and said 'Yeah, yeah lads good one'."


City council hopefuls in US misspell party names

Some candidates in city elections in Charleston, West Virginia have managed to misspell their party names on official forms.

Four Democrats misspelled their party name either as "Democart" or "Democrate."

Two Republican members changed their party name to "Repbulican" and "Repucican."

"I was kind of rushed," said Al Carey, a Republican challenger, who spelled his party "Repbulican."

Democrat Dana Griffith attributed his mistake to a tight time frame and a dash of carelessness.

Misspelling hasn't yet proved to be a candidate's political undoing. Four years ago, Fred Pettry spelled his party name "Democart," and went on to win a seat on the city council.

He repeated his gaffe this year.


106 year-old offered free bus rides to school

A 106-year-old Norwegian woman received an offer from local authorities for free bus rides to the school where she is supposed to attend next autumn.

Ingeborg Thuen, born in 1897 when the Klondyke gold rush was going strong, actually started school just before she turned six in 1903.

Computers in the Os township near Bergen read the '97 of her birth year as 1997, meaning she would be starting the first grade the next autumn.

She welcomed the free ride, saying that the last time she started school, she had to walk for an hour every morning.

The letter from the township also encouraged Ingeborg's parents to list the children she would like to have in her class.

"Since I can already read, maybe I should skip a couple grades," she joked.


BBC apologises for gobbledegook subtitles

The BBC today apologised to deaf football fans after its World Cup subtitle service turned live text commentary on screen into gobbledegook during a group stage game.

Viewers who followed the subtitles on Ceefax during Portugal’s clash with Poland found the East European country renamed Holland while the ball became a boule.

Scottish referee Hugh Dallas was christened Huge Dallas, while the Portuguese striker Jao Pinto played as So Pointed and Liverpool and Poland keeper Jerzey Dudek was billed as Dudeback.

A BBC spokesman blamed the fault during Monday’s group D game on the speech recognition machine, which is programmed to turn the voice of a commentator into text within seconds.

The machine confused words it was not used to, particularly foreign names, with other names and words.

The spokesman said: ‘‘Some machines have mistaken the odd word and this caused a few problems during the Portugal-Poland match.

‘‘We apologise to any viewers who experienced any difficulty reading the text. However, we still believe this is the quickest way of providing a subtitle service. The alternative, which is having people listen and type out the text, would be far too slow for something like a football game.’’

The spokesman said he did not anticipate the speech recognition machine encountering problems with England team names should the squad progress through the knock-out stages of the tournament.


Prisoner sends judge letter meant for his girlfriend

A prisoner in the US sent a letter intended for his girlfriend to the judge who was about to sentence him.

In the note, Kent Coulson tells his girlfriend that he has to write a "suck up" letter to the "crusty old judge" in a bid to get a lighter sentence for manufacturing methamphetamines.

However, the Salt Lake Tribune says the letter ended up in an envelope addressed to US district judge David Sam.

In the letter, Coulson, who was in Wasatch County Jail in Utah, says: "Hey Baby, how is my little thing? I have been sweating my ... off. It is a hot one in here. As you know, I have not been sentenced yet, but that is coming up soon. But I do have some good news concerning that subject."

He says his father plays golf with judge Sam, which he believes will go in his favour.

The letter continues: "Not only that, but the old [deleted] lives up here in Heber somewhere and the church people who come every Sunday morning happen to know him. So it all looks good for me. Ha! Ha!"


Police say 'screams' were yodelling pensioner

German police investigating reports of screams coming from a flat found a pensioner practising for a yodelling exam.

The woman's neighbours in Offenbach called police after becoming concerned about the noise.

Police say the 76-year-old was yodelling Bavarian folk tunes.

The Offenbach-Post says officers think her neighbours may be unfamiliar with the songs.

They say an alternative explanation for the incident is that she needs more singing practice.


Woman embarrassed by insurance claim pants

A woman who reported a pair of expensive ski trousers stolen forgot to take them off before going to the police station.

She had hoped to claim back the insurance. The 23-year-old from Holland was on holiday in Austria when she tried to make her claim.

She told police in Erpfendorf in Tyrol that her skis and ski-wear had been stolen. But she confessed to attempted fraud after police officers pointed out that she was wearing them.

She told police: "I was so nervous about making the claim that I forgot to take the trousers off. I wanted the insurance money for university."

The case has been handed over to the Erpfendorf public prosecutor who will decide whether to press charges for attempted fraud.


Thomas the cat offered gym membership

A cat is being bombarded with mail including credit card deals, gym offers and free internet surfing time.

Thomas the Tabby cat has been receiving mystery mail for six years. But owner Mike Davies was astounded when an 18in tube came through the door on Monday addressed to Thomas Catt.

In it was a membership offer from a local gym, Esporta Health Club, including a poster of a human body headed with the words: "Thomas, this is what we'll do for you this year".

Mr Davies, 49, of Coombe Road, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, insisted he has never put his 11-year-old pet's name on any mailing list and is baffled and "quite amused" by his apparent popularity.

Though the overweight feline is on a special diet, Mr Davies said he did not plan to take up the gym offer as there was no treadmill for cats there.

A spokeswoman for the gym said: "Esporta purchased the data record of Mr Thomas Catt from Consodata Lifestyle Register. It looks like somebody has clearly at some stage filled out details for their pet."

The pet's first piece of post was a credit card offer in 1998 addressed to just "Thomas" but since then "Catt" has been added as a surname, Mr Davies said.

Post has included an offer of a £250,000 loan, information about funeral plans, free internet surfing for 10 years and even a credit card offer from Goldfish. Mr Davies said: "He gets about six items a month and I think the postwoman is a bit fed up with it now."

Red-faced police crack mystery

Irish police chasing a Polish driver who had apparently committed more than 50 motoring offences have discovered the embarrassing truth.

Officers had been puzzled how the mysterious 'Prawo Jazdy' had always produced his documents - but with a different address each time.

However, they have now discovered that 'Prawo Jazdy' is Polish for driving licence, reports Metro.

An internal Garda memo, reported in Irish papers, said officers taking details of Polish traffic offenders had been mistakenly using 'Prawo Jazdy', printed in the top right corner of the driving licence, as the holder's name.

"Prawo Jazdy is actually the Polish for driving licence and not the first and surname on the licence," the police memo said.

"It is quite embarrassing to see the system has created Prawo Jazdy as a person with over 50 identities."

A Garda spokesman declined to comment on the reports.


Teen Attempts Robbery With Banana

A US teenager tried to rob an internet cafe with a banana – then ate the ‘weapon’ before he was arrested.

Police say John Szwalla entered the shop in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, with the banana concealed under his T-shirt and demanded money, reports the BBC.

The shop’s owner and customers overcame the thief and called for help, but the teenager ate his banana before police arrived.

Officers joked they may charge the 17-year-old with destroying evidence.

Bobby Ray Mabe, the owner of the store, said police officials took pictures of the banana skin instead.

"If he had had a gun he would’ve shot me," Mr Mabe told the Winston-Salem Journal newspaper. "But he had a banana."

Mr Szwalla has been charged with attempted armed robbery.


Man learns to tell 'pigs' from cops

A New Zealand man who called police officers 'pigs' has been ordered to spend a day at a pig farm.

The 22-year-old has also been ordered to write an essay about the difference between pigs and police officers.

The man was charged with using offensive language after he hurled abuse at police during a trip to Auckland.

Community Magistrate Robyn Paterson at Tauranga District Court ordered him to spend a day at a pig farm and present a short essay on his experiences, reports The Bay of Plenty Times.

According to the newspaper, he wrote: "I was very, very drunk. I have stopped drinking because of what happened. I have wasted the police's time and my time."

He maintained the word pig could be found in the Oxford dictionary and was often used to describe police.

But added he had learned 'that there is nothing at all in common with a pig and an officer'.


Maestro owner accused of 480mph speeding

A woman who drives a G-registration Austin Maestro has told of her shock after receiving a speeding ticket claiming she was travelling at 480mph.

Joanna James, 28, was allegedly clocked as she drove along a road in Bridgend earlier this month.

The mother-of-three, who bought the silver-coloured car for £100 in June, said it started to shake when it reached the motorway speed limit of 70mph.

A spokeswoman for the South Wales Safety Camera Partnership said the speed given on the ticket was down to a clerical error and a rectified notice, stating 48mph, had been issued.

Mrs James, who had her three-year-old daughter Chloe in the car with her on the night of the alleged offence, said she had been shocked when the letter arrived because she had not believed she had been speeding at all.

"Then my husband said, 'Hang on, you were doing 480mph," said Mrs James, of Sandfields, Port Talbot.

Her husband, Kenneth, who carries out mechanical work on the car, said: "I am waiting for Nasa to ring up for the diagram of the engine."


Assault suspect says he's an independent country

An Illinois resident facing charges of assaulting a police officer, says he shouldn't go on trial because he's an independent country.

Curtis Johnson, from Cary, faces four charges in relation to an incident in July.

It's alleged he scratched and pushed a police officer after a traffic stop.

Johnson claims he's not a US citizen - but a separate country.

He says the state's attorney doesn't have the jurisdiction to prosecute because he has diplomatic immunity.

Johnson is currently free on bail and is due in court on October 7.


Lovesick man 'stole ambulance to serenade girlfriend'

A lovesick Italian man stole an ambulance so he could serenade his girlfriend with its siren.

The 38-year-old man, who has not been named by police, jumped into the empty ambulance after he spotted the keys in the ignition.

He drove to his girlfriend's flat in Jesi, near Ancona, switched on the siren and began singing romantic love songs.

Police were called by neighbours complaining about the noise and arrested the man.

A police spokesman said: "This has to be one of the most bizarre cases we have ever had to deal with.

"When we asked him why he had taken the ambulance he was quite open and said he wanted to serenade his girlfriend.

"He said he couldn't play any instrument, and he wanted a memorable way to romance the girl.

"Unfortunately his idea didn't go down well with the neighbours or the hospital, who wanted their ambulance back immediately."


Drivers made to hop like frogs

Truck drivers who are caught speeding in an Indian state are being made to hop like frogs.

Police in Bihar dish out the humiliating punishments instead of taking offenders to court, reports Newindpress.com.

For the most popular punishment, leapfrog, speeding truck drivers have to sit on their haunches, hold their ears and hop for almost half a kilometre.

And the drivers are made to chant the name of the political leader they like most while they are being punished.

One policeman was quoted as saying: "If they remember their leader when they are being punished, it's like they are insulting them. If they have any sense, they won't do the offence again."


OAP shoplifter lacks bite

A 70-year-old shoplifter tried to evade capture by biting an arresting officer before realising he'd left his dentures at home.

Pensioner Gustav Ernegger turned on the policeman when he grabbed him as he ran out of a clothes shop in Braunschweig, Germany, after stealing a shirt.

But instead of sinking his teeth into the officer's arm, he was only able to leave a wet mark from his gums.

Police spokesman Gunther Brauner said: "He tried to bite the officer several times, but had forgotten to put his false teeth in and so was unable to cause him any harm."


Drink driver pretended to be the Pope

A drunk driver claimed spiritual immunity when he was pulled over in Holland by pretending to be the Pope.

The motorist told police he was Pope John Paul II, refused to get out of his car and turned his music up when they stopped him on a road just outside Baarn.

The officers said they could tell immediately he was not the Pontiff as the inebriated man was in his 50s.

And although the 83-year-old Pope speaks Dutch, he is known to do so with a strong Polish accent.

The motorist's son, who was in the passenger seat, managed to defuse the situation and persuade the bogus pontiff to get out of the car and face earthly justice.

Police confiscated the man's licence after he failed a breath test.


Police find mouse after being called to Sydney bank

Police found a mouse in a Sydney bank after a passer-by reported what he thought was an armed robbery.

Officers rushed to the Westpac bank in Kingsford after the man said he heard screams from inside the building.

He told police he believed there was an armed robber inside.

But when the officers arrived at the bank, they found staff and customers leaping around after a mouse on the loose.

"We were just running trying to catch this mouse and then the police turned up," said one customer.

Inspector Daryl Irvin joked: "I don't believe the mouse was armed".

The rodent was eventually captured by staff and released, reports the news.com website.


Burglars go back to ask for receipts

Three burglars were arrested in Brazil after they returned to a house and asked for the receipts for the goods they had stolen.

The young thieves told the owners of the house in Belo Horizonte that they were struggling to sell the stereo, TV and mobile phones because they didn't have the original receipts.

A police spokesman told Estado de Sao Paulo: "We have never seen anything so stupid.

"It was obvious that when they rang the bell the owner of the house would call us straight away and they [would all be] arrested.

"They are all underage and I think they were just really naive and thought they would get away with going back."


Motorist threatens to sue police for writing his name

A Missouri motorist stopped by police threatened to sue them under copyright laws if they wrote down his name.

Daniel Smith is said to have told officers his name was copyrighted, and every time it appeared on a document he would launch a £300,000 lawsuit.

The 45-year-old allegedly told police if his claim wasn't paid within 10 days, it would cost them £900,000. He said if they failed to pay at that point, judgments would be entered against all parties involved and their property.

He was pulled over by police officers following an accident near the town of Independence, reports the Examiner

According to police, Smith also told officers he wouldn't give them his licence unless he was given a receipt. When the officers told him he would get his licence back, he refused and demanded a receipt.

The officers then called for a supervisor. After he arrived, he was added to the list of people being sued.

Smith has reportedly been summonsed for a number of motoring offences.


Dog refuses to leave butchers after burglary

A burglar who took his dog to a raid on a butchers has been caught after the hound refused to leave.

Lumpi was so busy tucking into packs of sliced sausage Kurt Schmidt had opened for him that when the police turned up he stayed where he was instead of running for it.

A police spokesman in Zwickau in Germany where the raid happened said: "The burglar was standing by the back door whistling and calling the dog but it ignored him and carried on enjoying its meal."


German police hunting "stupid burglar"

Police in Germany are searching for a burglar who they say is the most stupid they have ever come across.

The unknown man broke into the building of a wood sales company in Bremen overnight. Officers believe he initially broke open a coffee vending machine and destroyed most of it before discovering it took only tokens and there was no money inside.

A police spokesman said: "One might remark that this was written down on a large sign on the front of the machine, but then it was dark."

The burglar then stole a mobile phone, which only works in the grounds of the company, and a cordless screwdriver - but forgot the batteries and charger.

Finally, they say the intruder drank a can of coke that had been standing in one of the offices and was 12 months past its sell-by date.

Police are confident they will find the man soon, saying he should be easy to spot. "He's the one who is stranded with a load of useless junk, looks tired, is sick to his stomach and is probably the laughing stock of all his mates," explained the police spokesman.


Woman thought she could not be arrested at home

A US woman led police on a high-speed police chase to her house - because she thought she could not be arrested at home.

The woman, of Alexandria, Louisiana, told officers she had seen someone avoid arrest in a similar manner on a TV show, reports The Town Talk newspaper.

But once she pulled into her driveway, officers from four agencies surrounded and arrested her and she now faces charges including speeding, reckless driving, and failure to give way to an emergency vehicle.

The chase began when a police officer noticed the woman's car did not have a licence plate, so he attempted to pull her over but the car sped up and joined a motorway.

By the time the 95mph chase entered Alexandria, officers with the Louisiana State Police, Alexandria Police Department and Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office were involved.

Police chief James Gonzales says the woman pulled into her driveway and got out of her car as if nothing had happened.


Car thief arrested after getting locked in

Florida police say they arrested a would-be thief after he got locked in the car he was trying to steal.

The 51-year-old's target in Gainesville had a security device that locks the doors when the alarm is triggered.

Police say the 1994 Infiniti had a button on the driver's door that would have released the locks, but the suspect didn't use it.

Alachua County sheriff's spokesman Sergeant Keith Faulk said: "Maybe he needs a new line of work. He's not very good at what he's doing now."

Police say they found him locked inside, trying to hide in the back seat. They say he had coins he'd taken from the car in his pockets. They've charged him with burglary and theft.


Thieves caught stealing cash machine empty for two years

A man has been arrested for trying to steal a cash machine which has been out of order for two years.

The ATM in a Chicago restaurant has been empty since it broke down in 2000 and the firm that installed it went bust.

Restaurant staff says the gang of thieves did them a favour, as they were wondering how to get rid of the useless machine.

Three men broke into the restaurant and ripped the machine from bolts sticking it to the floor, only to find it wouldn't fit on the back seat of their car.

Police spotted them drive away with the machine sticking out their hatchback. Officers chased the gang and caught one man.

Tammy Katsenis, a waitress at the L and G Restaurant, told the

Chicago Sun-Times : "The thing's been dead for all this time. They went through all that hassle for nothing."

A 32-year-old man has been charged with burglary and possession of a stolen car and burglary tools. The other two suspects remain at large.


Man arrested after calling police over drug rip-off

A New Orleans man has been arrested after calling police to complain he'd been ripped off trying to trade a microwave oven for crack cocaine.

Joseph Bulot, of Chalmette, was arrested on a charge of possession of drug paraphernalia.

The 32-year-old had showed a sheriff's deputy a crack pipe he said he'd used to smoke what turned out to be fake cocaine.

A sheriff's deputy tested the off-white rock. It showed no traces of cocaine.

Maj. Marcel David, chief of the sheriff's special investigations division, which conducts drug investigations, said he can't recall anyone ever asking a deputy to look at their drug paraphernalia, initiating their own arrest.


Mini 'caught speeding at Mach 3'

A Belgian motorist has been sent a speeding ticket for travelling at 2,100 mph.

The ticket claimed he'd been caught doing Mach 3 in his Mini in a Brussels city suburb.

Police have apologised for the mistake, and have blamed a faulty radar.

They said human error was to blame for sending out the ticket, even though it was clear the man's car couldn't have been travelling at three times the speed of sound.


Italian prisoner prefers cell to wife

An Italian prisoner who was given home leave for good behaviour asked to go back to his cell after spending less than a day with his wife.

The 40-year-old was given a 72 hour pass by the governor at Vigevano prison, near Pavia in northern Italy.

But within minutes of meeting his wife they had an argument and he called the prison asking to be taken back inside.

A spokesman at the jail said: "We got a call from him saying he couldn't stand being with his wife and was it possible to go back to his cell. He said he didn't want to spend another minute with her.

"It was a very unusual request as we normally get inmates asking when they can leave and not if they can come in. "He was told it was not a problem all he had to do was come back and he would go straight to his cell and within an hour he was at the prison gate."


Smelly feet man loses court appeal

A Dutchman who ended up in court for going into a library with smelly feet has lost his appeal and had his fine more than doubled.

The 39-year-old Rotterdam man was fined £70 for repeatedly going into the university library in Delft and taking off his shoes.

He was convicted of trespass because he kept going into the library despite the fact he had been banned for upsetting other users.

Library staff told police he had been using the library for about a year and that other people had to leave because his feet smelled so bad.

The man, named by De Telegraaf as Theunis T, took the case to the Dutch Court of Appeal but lost and his fine was increased to £175.

However, he said: "I will go to the Dutch High Council. I know I'm right. The library should never have denied me entry for a reason like that."


Man sues shop after belt comes loose during meeting

A Chinese man is suing a shop that sold him a belt that twice came loose during an important business meeting.

Li, of Zhengzhou, Henan Province, was meeting a woman executive from Canada about a contract to run an immigration agency.

But he failed to win the £80,000 contract after his belt twice came loose, reports China Daily, quoting Henan Shangbao.

Li said he had already reached a verbal agreement to become the local representative of an immigration agency.

He had bought the £50 belt from a local shopping centre before a final interview for the contract.

But the belt suddenly came loose when he shook hands with the woman in her hotel lobby, forcing the woman to look away in embarrassment.

Li apologised and fixed the belt in the bathroom. But then the same thing happened again in the middle of their conversation. He is suing the shop for £15,000 compensation.


Aussie judge forgets

An Australian judge who demanded to know the name of the "idiot'' who granted bail to a serial burglar discovered he was talking about himself.

Justice Dean Mildren conceded privately he was the judge who bailed Tristan Ellis last November after apparently forgetting.

Ellis, 18, was granted bail by Justice Mildren on November 25 after breaching a curfew imposed by the judge in April. He was ordered to attend a drug rehabilitation programme in Darwin.

Ellis was facing 28 breaking-and-entering charges, says the Northern Territory News.

On Monday judge Mildren said he was "absolutely staggered'' that Ellis had been given bail three times last year after being arrested for breaking and entering.

"Who is the idiot who did that?'' the judge said.

Ellis faces sentencing in the Northern Territory's Supreme Court on Thursday.


Bank robber caught when money explodes in his trousers

A US bank robber suspect was caught after his ill gotten gains exploded down the front of his trousers.

The money he had stolen from the National City Bank in Columbus, Ohio, had included an explosive dye pack.

It went off shortly after the man stuffed the money down the front of his trousers and walked out of the bank.

Police spotted the 40-year-old about a block away, walking strangely and in obvious pain. Officers stopped him and discovered he had been injured when the dye pack exploded near his groin.

Police spokesman Sgt Brent Mull said the man had been charged with aggravated robbery.


Mistake advert offers brother for sale

A Canadian woman has been inundated with calls from people wanting to buy her brother after placing an advert in a newspaper to sell her Brother sewing machine.

Barbara Bennett, 41, from Vancouver, says the advert, which was placed in the Miscellaneous Items under $50 section in the Columbian newspaper just read BROTHER for sale.

The newspaper has admitted failing to include the words sewing machine in the advert and has since run a correction.

But Ms Bennett says she has repeatedly had to tell interested callers that it was a misprint. One caller even asked her if the price for her brother was negotiable, reports The Columbian.

"It's OK, I needed a good laugh," she said. "I had minor heart surgery on Friday, so it helps."


Bus Worshippers set up weekly meetings in coach station

A group of bus spotters has set up weekly meetings at Sao Paulo's main coach station to share their devotion to buses.

Douglas de Cezare, a founder member of the Bus Worshippers group, told Jornal da Globo: "If I could I would own a bus. Besides being a hobby it is a therapy, you forget about your problems when you spend the whole day watching them come and go.

"My obsession started as something funny when I was still a kid and developed to buses becoming the objects of my desire."

In the Bus Worshipers' meetings, members watch buses, talk about them and take pictures of people getting on and off buses.

Coach firm commercial director Hugo de Favere said: "They come up with interesting stuff, suggestions and criticisms that we try to take into account to improve our services."

The group is now planning to take what they say will be the longest bus journey ever, from Chile to Alaska.


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