10 stories that could be April Fools pranks but aren't
- 1 April 2011
- From the section Magazine
It's the day when newspapers compete to come up with the most inventive spoof stories - but not every bizarre report on 1 April is fictitious.
Here's a round-up of some of the day's seemingly hoax reports which are, in fact, entirely true.
1. French President Nicolas Sarkozy uses a £10,000 armour-plated umbrella to protect him from attackers. Carried by the head of state's security guards, the rainproof device is coated in high-strength Kevlar so it can reduce the force of bullets and resist knife attacks.
2. The National Trust has published a list of the UK's top 10 "silly walks" to such colourfully-named locations as Scrubby Bottoms, Pembrokeshire, Booby's Bay, Cornwall and Windy Gap in Surrey. Keen ramblers can also sniff out a route to The Nostrils on the Isle of Wight.
3. A 50-strong gang of chickens that terrorised residents in Southport has been evicted by Lancashire Police. The flock, which had been abandoned by their former owner, prowled the streets in a pack and would begin crowing at 0400 BST each morning.
4. Men only think about sex once every two hours - not every seven seconds, as is commonly believed, according to a survey of 5,000 adult males. By contrast, the average man spends 177 minutes a day worrying about his job, the study suggests.
5. A couple who carved their hedge into the shape of a Buddha have been threatened with a curse by an angry neighbour. An anonymous poison pen letter was sent to Raymond and Sacha Hubbard, who own a garden centre, but the pair have resolved to keep their topiary effigy.
6. Songs by pop star Shakira are banned at the ground of Real Madrid because her boyfriend Gerard Pique plays for rivals Barcelona. Her song Waka-Waka had been played regularly at the Bernabeu during pre-match build-ups and at half time but has now been dropped.
7. A baker has been flooded with complaints after calling his shop Nice Baps. John O'Toole, who runs the business in Henlow, Beds, said: "I tried to explain to them that I do small baps and big baps and they're nice and firm."
8. A house made famous on social networking sites because it apparently looks like Hitler has another wartime claim - it survived the blitz. Speaking to the press for the first time, owner Clive Davies, 65, said the terraced property was left unscathed by a Luftwaffe bombing raid.
9. Dogs have been sheared and coloured so that they resemble a bison, a court jester and a scorpion at a series of US "extreme dog grooming contests". Animal photographer Ren Netherland has captured some of the more extreme lengths to which some owners have gone, including also carving the coat of one canine into a Native American headdress.
10. The real names of adult industry actors have been published on a website which styles itself as "Porn Wikileaks". The move may be alarming to stars who often perform under pseudonyms to shield friends, family and future employers from their careers.