The pristine coast of North Cornwall, home to some of Britain's most beautiful scenery, faces a new menace tonight after at least 500,000 barrels of utter crap from charity shops leaked from an underground bunker in Wales into the British channel. Experts say that the effects on the prestige of celebrity haunts in the region could be devastating.
Unknown to the public, charity shops in London have long recycled unsold goods up the M4 corridor. Once the best clothes have gone from Chelsea shops, the remainder is shipped to Reading and Swindon. After three months, they are moved on to Bristol and Cardiff. Eventually, what cannot be given away for free even in Merthyr Tydfil is stored in a sealed concrete bunker.
'It's a nightmare scenario,' admitted a spokesman for the Department of the Environment. 'This slick contains huge quantities of all sorts of toxic nasties: Katie Price autobiographies, Royal Doulton figurines of princesses on a swing, you name it. What would happen if this washed up outside Rick Stein's in Padstow doesn't bear thinking about.'
The coastguard are keeping a constant watch on the slick, now estimated to measure three miles by two at its widest. Some hope that the knitted tea cosies holding it together will biodegrade naturally, while others are urging the use of chemical dispersants to break down the most dangerous George at Asda trousers.
'Industry must also take a long, hard look at itself,' said Green MEP Caroline Lucas. 'We cannot, for example, just keep issuing CDs of Ibiza club music to returning holidaymakers, who invariably give it to the local charity shop one week later when they realise that you just can't listen to this shite when you aren't off your tits on drugs.'