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This is a question Breakin' The Law

'I'd taken some mushrooms in a pub,' writes Allen Smithee, 'and things had got a bit odd. People turning into goblins, barstools into toadstools etc. I wandered off from my friends and found myself in a carpark. I noticed a huge liquorice allsort driving towards me and Bertie Basset got out. I kinda realised that Bertie was a policeman and my brain went into paranoid fast forward. I decided that I must be being arrested and said, "I'll just get in the back of your car, Officer" Bertie looked at me with disgust, "Not bleeding likely sunshine. Just piss off home ok?"'

(, Wed 7 Jan 2004, 20:34)
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Photoshop ruined my life
Bless me Father for I have sinned. It is 25 years since my last confession, so you'd better make yourself comfortable in there...

I had an old banger. It was a car. The tax ran out. But I had a scanner. I thought 'I wonder...just to tide me over until I get the various bits and bobs repaired and the car passes its MOT', so I scanned in my tax disc and gave myself a two month extension. I amended the little postoffice stamp to read 'Toytown Post Office', so that I felt I wasn't being dishonest, just having a bit of a larf.

It was fine. Two months turned into three, six, nine...all happily motoring away, pleased with my victimless crime (after all, when I finally got the car MOT'd I'd probably pay the back tax, wouldn't I? Yes, I would. Honest). It all started to go horribly wrong when I was running around against impossible deadlines one Sunday - I had to be in three places as close to simultaneously as possible, and so might have been driving a tad over the 30 speed limit when I was pulled over by a spotty ginger police woman. 'It's a fair cop', I thought, before looking again and saying 'No it's not'. It took this eagle eyed/beagle faced slueth about 0.0000004 seconds to spot the clever bit of shoppery, mainly because as I'd gone through various extensions, the versions of the tax disc were more and more lax. Instead of the lovingly hand crafted perforations around the edge and meticulous attention to the look and feel of the original paper, by this time it was crudely cut out and printed on some old photo paper and looked not unlike a beer mat. It was as dodgey as a library full of dossiers.

My existential training kicked in - OK, I thought, here we go, a fine, a few points on the license - let's see what being in a police station is really like.

They took me in and finger printed me, asked me a few questions which I answered honestly, I made the traditional phonecall (my wife was very understanding. No, really) and then put me in a cell. Interesting, I thought, smirking to myself and wondering if I should write some prison diaries whilst I was in there - or use the bog to see what it was like. After about an hour and a half (my smirk now rigid under my nose) the PC Penhalligan un-lookalike came back to the cell to say 'We are going to conviscate your computer for further investigation - where abouts in the house is it.'

Fucking hell, thought I. Fucking Fucking hell. Just how much pornography is there on my 10 gigabyte hard disc. Right click, save as. OOOo. Right click, save as. How much? A shit load.

My computer was kept by them for about ten months, and I was charged with dishonesty, forgery, and being beastly, but not for the pornography on my computer. I was picturing the local paper - 'Local man in horse cock scandal' (well, that was in my 'miscellaneous' section, all right? Just check your own cache before casting a rolling stone in my direction).

It all blew over in the end. I went to court, spoke to the duty lawyer five minutes before I went in and he did some kind of tradeoff with the prosecutor and I got a small fine of some kind.

But it was all pretty stressful. My advice: kids, don't do it. I was under the impression that if I just owned up they'd see that I was a perfectly nice chap and there was no need for any unpleasantness, but what really happens is that one they've got you, they've got you, and the slow machine of the law that is not nimble enough to capture all the two bit scallies or press charges against the big boys, can deal pretty efficiently with little middleclass boys who should know better and who want their mum.
(, Thu 8 Jan 2004, 10:49, closed)

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