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Paper Monitor

09:49 UK time, Wednesday, 25 August 2010

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Paper Monitor never ceases to be amazed by how obliging the great British public are to the gentlefolk of the press during "silly season", which is clearly at its height this week.

It appears citizens the land over are prepared to engage in all manner of bizarre and incomprehensible behaviour to help fill column inches.

Take Mary Bale, for instance.

The 45-year-old shot to infamy when footage of her casually dumping a cat in a bin as she walked past a house in Coventry was broadcast yesterday.

You might think the bank worker would choose to keep a low-profile afterwards, particularly given the RSPCA's interest in the case.

But not content with having stirred the bile of animal lovers the world over, she confounded the problem by telling the Sun: "I don't know what the fuss is about, it's just a cat."

"I don't know what came over me but I suddenly thought it would be funny to put it in the wheelie bin which was right beside me.

"I did it as a joke because I thought it would be funny. "I never thought it would be trapped. I expected it to wriggle out of the bin.

Paper Monitor takes comfort that, after her ordeal at the hands of the "moggie mauler", the cat in question - four-year-old tabby Lola - was treated to a host of pet pampering treats by the Sun.

With mind still a-boggle, Paper Monitor turned to page 33 of the Daily Mirror to find a story about a man being caught on CCTV stealing women's underwear from a washing line.

Reporter Victoria Murphy revels in the once-in-a-career opportunity the thief's name offers for wordplay:

Mum Leanne Burrell set up the camera after a spate of thefts - and nicked a knicker-nicker called Luke Wicker.

Wicker, it transpires, kept a hidden store of smalls behind his bed, which included 15 bras, 26 pairs of knickers and tights with the crotch areas cut out.

Paper Monitor muses that those who campaign against the UK's supposed "surveillance society" may be doing the country a great disservice. What would be left to occupy the media without such technology?

So it was with dismay that Paper Monitor opened the Times to find another attack on the scope of crime reporters the nation over.

The Law Commission is calling for rarely used "trivial offences" to be removed from the statute book to be replaced by civil measures.

Among the laws the commission would like scrapped is one making it a crime to sell, or offer as a prize, animals including goldfish to people under 16.

This year pet shop owner Hoan Higgins, 66, was caught selling goldfish to a teenager. She was ordered to wear an electronic tag and given a night-time curfew. She was also fined £1,000.

Other criminal offences in the firing line incluse failing to record the training of farmworkers - punishable by up to two years' jail - running an unregistered indepedent educational establishment and, if you're a ship's captain, refusing the order of a British Sea Fisheries Officer to weigh fish.

All news stories waiting to happen, considers Paper Monitor - and they may come in handy next August.

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