Drug rats: Contraband smuggled into jail inside dead rodents

Dead rats have been used to smuggle contraband into a prison in England.

Three of the rodents were found inside the perimeter fence at HMP Guys Marsh in Dorset in what is thought to have been the first case of its kind.

Staff patrolling the prison opened the rats up after noticing that their stomachs had been stitched up.

They found that the rats’ insides had been removed and replaced with five mobile phones and chargers, three SIM cards, cigarette papers, and drugs including spice and cannabis.

Image: The case is the first recorded use of a rat to transport contraband

The rats had been thrown over the prison fence and a prisoner had been waiting to collect them, according to the Ministry of Justice.

In the 12 months to March 2018, there were 13,119 incidents where drugs were found in prisons in England and Wales – a rise of 23% on the previous year.

The number of mobile phones found in prisons increased by 15% to 10,643 instances in 2017-18.

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Criminals have previously used tennis balls and pigeons to try to smuggle contraband over prison fences.

Ministry of Justice photo of a dead rat before it was cut open to reveal drugs, mobile phones, chargers and SIM cards

Image: A Ministry of Justice photo of a dead rat carrying drugs, mobile phones, chargers and SIM cards

Prisons Minister Rory Stewart said: “This find shows the extraordinary lengths to which criminals will go to smuggle drugs into prison, and underlines why our work to improve security is so important.

“Drugs and mobile phones behind bars put prisoners, prison officers and the public at risk.

“By toughening security and searching, we can ensure prisons are places of rehabilitation that will prevent further re-offending and keep the public safe.”

HMP Guys Marsh, a category C training prison for men, had a population of 384 last month and last year’s report by the Independent Monitoring Board found prisoners have “easy access” to mobile phones and “make calls at times to suit themselves”.

'Is this a sick joke?' – Marmite peanut butter coming to UK shops

Marmite is a staple of breakfast tables across the country, known for long-running “love it or hate it” slogan.

And now, the divisive spread is set to become even more controversial, with the company unveiling plans to blend the yeast extract with crunchy peanut butter.

Marmite boldly claims that the new combination is exactly what the nation has been waiting for.

Brand manager Camilla Williamson said: “The British public asked, and we listened.

“We’re delighted to bring the nation exactly what they’ve been craving with the creation of Marmite peanut butter.”

The product is going to be available to buy online from Monday, and will make its debut on supermarket shelves next month.

As expected, reaction to the news has been mixed.

One fan heralded the announcement as the “best news ever”, while others proclaimed that Marmite was a “trailblazer” and “so ahead of the trends”.

Another enthusiast said: “If I could, I’d bury my head in a jar of that”.

Others were not so easily persuaded – with one asking: “Is this a sick joke?”

A more level-headed shopper said that they love Marmite and peanut butter separately, but fear that combining the two is a step too far.

But Ms Williamson at Marmite was not put off, saying: “It’s the most exciting product launch since the conception of the brand in 1902 and we’re confident that the nation is going to love it.

“They ain’t tasted nuttin’ yet.”

Rude Scottish words added to Oxford English Dictionary

A Scottish insult describing someone as a scrotum is among the latest additions to the Oxford English Dictionary.

Bawbag – slang for ball bag – is one of more than 650 new words, senses and subentries added to the famous compendium.

Other newly included Scottish words include bam, bampot and bamstick, which mean someone who is foolish, annoying, obnoxious, belligerent or disruptive.

Image: Some of the new additions to the dictionary are fruitier than others

A tube – also spelt choob – is a “stupid or contemptible person; an idiot”, and is frequently used as a “disparaging form of address”, the dictionary says.

Roaster means an “obnoxious, annoying, or otherwise objectionable person; an idiot”, according to its definition.

More than 1,400 definitions have been added in the latest dictionary update

Image: Hundreds of new words, senses and subentries have been added to the Oxford English Dictionary

Sprag is not dissimilar – meaning a person with an “arrogant, swaggering manner; a boaster, a braggart”.

There is also bowfing, which means foul-smelling – and fantoosh, meaning fancy, showy or flashy. It is often used “disparagingly, implying ostentation or pretentiousness”.

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Geggie means a person’s mouth – used to tell someone to “shut your geggie”.

New words

Image: No, friends, ‘tube’ has nothing to do with the London Underground

Rooked means swindled or fleeced.

Bidie-in – someone’s cohabiting partner, is also new, as is jotter, which means to get one’s jotters and be dismissed from work.

'Puggle' - the term for a pug/beagle cross - is another new entry

Image: ‘Puggle’ – the term for a pug/beagle cross – is another new entry

Away from Scotland, more universal additions include hir and zir, which are used as alternative pronouns to him, his or her, and peoplekind – an alternative to mankind.

Misgender, misgendered or misgendering is when someone is addressed using a pronoun they do not identify with.

And for dog lovers there is dorgi – a cross between a dachshund and a corgi – and puggle, a pug and beagle cross.

Mouse proud: Rodent seen tidying up tools in garden shed

A pensioner left scratching his head over who was cleaning his garden shed every night has finally discovered the culprit – a helpful mouse.

Stephen Mckears, 72, “thought he was going mad” when he first noticed objects were moving around a month ago.

The retired electrician found plastic clips were appearing in an old ice cream tub filled with peanuts he uses to feed the birds.

Image: Stephen Mckears joked that the rodent was ‘stockpiling for Brexit’

Mr Mckears, from Severn Beach, South Gloucestershire, then noticed other objects begin to accumulate.

The pensioner decided to empty the tub each night, scattering nuts and bolts across his shed.

When he woke up in the morning he discovered the mess had been cleared up.

After weeks of finding large screws, plastic leads, and nuts and bolts neatly filed away, Mr Mckears and his neighbour Rodney Holbrook decided to set up a camera to observe what was happening.

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The tiny animal lifted a sheet of metal before trying to put it away

Image: The tiny animal lifted a sheet of metal before trying to put it away

Mr Mckears and Mr Holbrook, 70, were stunned when the footage showed a mouse tidying the shed.

The house-proud rodent was seen picking up a screw in its mouth and putting it in the tub, as well as a large metal clip and pieces of plastic.

The tiny mouse even tried to lift objects twice its size.

Mr Mckears said: “I’ve been calling him Brexit Mouse because he’s been stockpiling for Brexit.

“The heaviest thing was the plastic attachment at the end of a hose pipe – and the chain of an electric drill.

The mouse tried to lift a plastic hose attachment into the ice cream tub

Image: The mouse tried to lift a plastic hose attachment into the ice cream tub

“I didn’t know what it was at first. The kids were saying it was a ghost.

“One day I emptied the tub out and spread the contents on the side – and the next day they were all back in again.

“I thought I was going mad.”

The pair filmed the mouse tidying away the objects from around midnight to 2.30am.

The rodent had been carrying out the activity every night for around a month.

Mr Mckears added: “It was doing it for about two hours that night – he must have had to go for a sleep after it.

“I’ve seen a mouse moving objects to make a nest but never metal objects. It’s quite amazing.

“It’s still busy doing it now.”

Mr Mckears set up a camera to film the mouse cleaning his shed

Image: Mr Mckears set up a camera to film the mouse cleaning his shed

Mr Holbrook, who lives just a few minutes away from his friend, is a keen wildlife photographer and said he had to see the house-proud mouse for himself.

He said: “I’ve been calling him Metal Mickey but some people have been saying he’s just mouse proud.

“I was quite amazed to see it – it is an amazing mouse.

“Steve asked if he could use my trail camera to film whatever it was that was moving the objects in his shed.

“The mouse was chucking things into the box – we thought it was a ghost or something at first. I thought I have to see this for myself.”

Superheroes listed as 'interns' in White House report

An unusual group of interns – Star Wars villain Jabba the Hutt and Spider-Man’s alter-ego Peter Parker – have been credited in President Donald Trump’s annual economic report. 

The names are listed as helping with the Economic Report of the President, which analyses the health of the US economy and the president’s economic agenda.

Buried on page 624 of the report, the names include the human alter-egos of Captain America and Batman – Steve Rogers and Bruce Wayne – as well as Spider-Man’s relative Aunt May and Monty Python star John Cleese.

A ‘John Snow’ is also listed – which could refer to the Jon Snow of Game of Thrones fame.

Alongside the unlikely names are a number of apparently real-life interns.

Martha Gimbel, researcher director for the jobs site Indeed, posted a screenshot of the dubious interns list on Twitter.

“The Economic Report of the President has revealed that the quality of interns at CEA is much better than it was when I was there,” she joked.

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The Council of Economic Advisers later tweeted to confirm the names were an intentional prank, intended to brighten up the 711-page report.

It wrote: “Thank you for noticing, our interns are indeed super heroes! We’ve thought so all along, but we knew it’d take a little more to get them the attention they deserve.

“Did folks really think this was a mistake?!? That would never have made it past our fact-checkers — who, in fact, include our interns!” it added.

A similar prank appeared in last year’s economic report, in which Star Trek characters James T Kirk and Jean-Luc Picard were listed as working for the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

Flintstone House could be reduced to rubble amid lawsuit

A house that serves as a colourful homage to The Flintstones is at the centre of a legal battle in California.

The quirky, bulbous property, inspired by Fred and Wilma’s home in the beloved 1960s cartoon, has been declared a public nuisance by officials in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Critics Yabba Dabba Doo not like the building because of how the owner, media mogul Florence Fang, has added new decorations to the property’s exterior.

Dinosaur sculptures have been installed in the backyard, while a sign in the driveway also features Fred Flintstone’s famous catchphrase.

Ms Fang is accused of violating local codes and creating a “highly visible eyesore”.

A complaint was filed by the town of Hillsborough after she refused to comply with orders to remove some of the house’s features.

Ms Fang’s family say she is defiant, with her grandson telling local media that she “will fight to save the Flintstone House”.

Pig bones reveal how far Stonehenge feasters travelled

Archaeologists have uncovered evidence of early large-scale celebrations, with people travelling hundreds of miles for feasting rituals.

Four sites close to Stonehenge and Avebury, including Durrington Walls, Marden, Mount Pleasant and West Kennet Palisade Enclosures hosted feasts which drew people and animals from all over the country.

A study examining the bones of 131 pigs from four Late Neolithic complexes show that the animals came from as far away as Scotland, the North East of England and West Wales, as well as other sites in Britain.

Researchers believe that those attending the feasts may have wanted to contribute animals raised locally at their homes.

Before this study, the origins of the people who took part in the rituals and the extent of the journeys people would take, have been a mystery.

Study lead Dr Richard Madgwick, from the University of Cardiff, said: “This study demonstrates a scale of movement and level of social complexity not previously appreciated.

“These gatherings could be seen as the first united cultural events of our island, with people from all corners of Britain descending on the areas around Stonehenge to feast on food that had been specially reared and transported from their homes.”

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The Neolithic henge complexes in southern Britain were the focal point for gatherings in the third millennium BC.

Pigs were the main animal used for food and analysing them provides the best indication of where people who feasted at the sites had come from originally.

Researchers used isotope analysis, identifying chemical signals from the food and water the animals consumed, to determine the geographical areas where the pigs were raised.

It’s provided the most detailed picture of the degree of mobility across Britain at the time of Stonehenge.

Dr Madgwick added: “Arguably the most startling finding is the efforts that participants invested in contributing pigs that they themselves had raised.

“Procuring them in the vicinity of the feasting sites would have been relatively easy.

“Pigs are not nearly as well-suited to movement over distance as cattle, and transporting them, either slaughtered or on the hoof, over hundreds or even tens of kilometres, would have required a monumental effort.

“This suggests that prescribed contributions were required and that rules dictated that offered pigs must be raised by the feasting participants, accompanying them on their journey, rather than being acquired locally.”

The study, Multi-isotope Analysis Reveals That Feasts In The Stonehenge Environs And Across Wessex Drew People And Animals From Throughout Britain, is published in the journal Science Advances.

Maths trick blows people's minds on Twitter

Figuring out percentages can be a nightmare – especially if you haven’t got a calculator to hand.

But now, a maths whizz has blown people’s minds on Twitter after sharing a simple way of working out complicated sums.

The “fascinating little hack” involves flipping the numbers around to make things easier.

For example, if you need to work out 18% of 50, swap them and go for the easier option of 50% of 18 instead. The answer for both is nine.

Another example is 4% of 25. Flip it round to work out 25% of 4 – and the answer to both is one.

The formula was tweeted by Ben Stephens from Brighton, and it has since attracted more than 11,600 likes and 4,000 retweets.

Some of his followers have described the trick as “life changing”, with one writing: “Not sure whether I should be happy or embarrassed. Maybe both.”

Others said they were “terribly impressed” and questioned “why was I never taught this in school.”

Mabel Marie said she “loved how many minds this is blowing. Hooray for stimulating more maths conversation in the world! Woohoo!”

After claiming to spend years on Twitter “banging on about Trump and Brexit” – Mr Stephens seemed to find the huge response to his trick quite amusing.

He said: “I pop out one tweet about maths (a subject about which I have never tweeted before) and it sets the internet on fire.”

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