A toilet superintendent from Peterborough has spent his life savings excavating under the toilets where he works in search of 89 Airfix spitfires allegedly buried by his brother 44 years earlier.
Arthur Pritt (52) recalls as a child he used to live on a caravan site where the public conveniences are now situated. A keen aeromodeller, Pritt spent his entire pocket money, plus considerable sums garnered in various ways from the local community, on dozens of the hand-assembled fighter plane replicas. He claims he had more spitfires than Fighter Command could ever muster in the heat of the Battle of Britain, albeit Pritt's were 1/72-scale and not as effective in the air.
But one afternoon in the summer of 1969, Pritt came home from school to find all of his models gone. The effect on the unconsolable Pritt was traumatic, and some say it accounts for the bright young lad's inexplicable failure to make it to Cambridge 10 years later, a distance of only 36 miles. Despite an inquest lasting a week led by his father's mistress from the nearby town of Stilton, the disappearance remained unexplained until recently when Pritt's older brother Patrick who, mistakenly thinking he was dying from infected ingrowing nostril hair, confessed on what turns out not to be his deathbed to playing truant from school that halcyon afternoon more than four decades earlier, and burying the extruded plastic miniature aircraft collection underneath the caravan, possibly as deep as a foot down.
With a mortgage from Wonga, Pritt has raised the cash to buy the public conveniences from Peterborough Council, having promised to pay for a coin-operated self-cleaning lavatory to be installed outside the library, and unfortunately making himself redundant as a result. Pritt has brought in a jack hammer to break up the concrete and most of the toilets are now in a skip. But after a week of careful excavation, nothing resembling the collection of iconic legendary fighter planes has been found.
In a cruel and unexpected turn of events, Patrick Pritt has now changed his story. In the latest version, the older Pritt, instead of burying the models, claims he placed bangers in them and threw them over a small fence into a neighbouring caravan. There is no evidence for this except for reports of a fatal fire which led to the closure of the caravan site in 1970.
Arthur Pritt had planned to auction the cemented-together 'planes to pay off his debts, once he's put the little pilots in, which were too fiddly for the 8-year-old to insert at the time. But if true, this latest bombshell from his older brother may make such thoughts 'pie in the sky'.