Stinkogeddon in Spalding
The stench of mystery is plaguing the market town of Spalding, Lincolnshire. This could be the whodunnit to end all whodunnits.
Spalding Guardian, 13 January 2011 (story):
Police bid to catch Spalding stink bomber
POLICE are hunting a hooded man in his 50s who is targeting charity shops with stink bombs.
The man – in his 50s – repeatedly preys on the Cancer Research shop in Hall Place and the Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance shop in Sheepmarket.
The stink bombs smell like rotten eggs and the stench is so powerful that customers arriving at the shops are opening the door and going away again.
Lisa Winkley, manager of the Cancer Research shop, said the stink bombs are usually let off amongst the books on the ground floor.
Staff have to throw books away and the foul smell fills the retail area and both upper floors.
Mrs Winkley said: “It’s absolutely disgusting. It’s foul. It has a smell of its own.
“Last time we caught it in time – he didn’t manage to break it properly and I was able to get the stink bomb out. I chucked it in our bin outside.”
Whoever smelt it dealt it.
It’s hard to know what the Spalding Stink Bomber’s motive could possibly be. Perhaps he regards his campaign of olfactory vandalism as a legitimate form of direct political action in protest at the government’s overburdening of the charity sector as part of its ‘Big Society’ cuts agenda. That would be fair enough.
More cynically, I can’t help suspecting this whole thing has merely been cooked up by the charity shop staff in order to conceal their own unconscionable levels of flatulence.
Whoever denied it supplied it.
The attacks began last summer and, after a brief lull, they began again with a vengeance – often on Wednesdays.
Celia Laverton, manager of the air ambulance shop, said: “It’s happening at least once a week now.”
The stench lingers for around 45 minutes – and that’s after she’s opened the door, switched on fans, sprayed air fresheners and lit incense cones.
Mrs Winkley said her regular customers are now so used to the stink bomb attacks that they continue to shop – but others simply walk away after opening the front door.
PC Paul Smith, Spalding town centre beat manager, said he’s seen isolated incidents of youngsters letting off stink bombs in shops as a prank but in 22 years of policing has never come across a concerted campaign like this against charity shops.
He said: “If the gentleman has got a problem with the shops then I would say please bring it forward properly and stop picking on charity shops who are trying to collect money for charitable causes.”
If the police ever catch this stink-bombing scoundrel, then the most appropriate course of action would surely be to let him off. Boom boom, thank you, and goodnight.
Thanks to Paul Widdowfield for kicking up a stink and submitting this story.