Police confirmed tonight that Pete Burns, the 1980s pop star locked up in the Big Brother house, was only monkeying around when he told his housemates that his fur coat was made out of gorilla pelt.
Hertfordshire Police officers, following up on complaints from the public, confiscated the fluffy black and white coat in an unlikely raid last night on Elstree studios.
Burns had been warned that he could face up to five years in jail or an unlimited fine for breaching international rules on the trade in endangered species.
But Sergeant Jamie Bartlett, the force's wildlife officer, told Times Online tonight that Natural History Museum experts had confirmed that the coat was not made of gorilla - although it might be made of the threatened colobus monkey, which it more closely resembles.
"It's not gorilla," Mr Bartlett said. "It's got nothing to do with Appendix A of Cites (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species).
"Until I know what it is I can't say if there's been a more minor offence, but it's not gorilla, which is the main thing everyone's been worried about."
What can I or anyone say to cap the absurdity of that report?
We are told, often correctly, that some of our fellow citizens are afraid to leave their homes, that drug crime is rampant, and anarchy rules our sink estates. So the 'Wildlife Officer' (what's wrong with having a few 'lowlife officers'?) sits down with museum experts to investigate the provenance of a coat. Yes, that's right, a coat. Meanwhile, in court today, I have been forced to adjourn a number of cases because the 'overstretched' police haven't provided information to the CPS in time to allow a trial to proceed.