The future of the campaign for Scottish independence has been thrown into doubt following reports that the border between Scotland and England has been stolen.
The theft, which has left locals, tourists and sat-nav manufacturers in a state of confusion, is believed to have been carried out by a gang of international frontier thieves who steal borders from across Europe and then sell them to a developing countries with poorly defined or maintained frontiers. While thefts of small parts of European borders have been on the increase in recent years, this is believed to be the first time the gang has stolen a border in its entirety.
Early international police investigations appear to have revealed that sections of Hadrian's Wall now make up part of the border between Honduras and Guatemala. Meanwhile, unconfirmed reports have suggested that part of the river Tweed and a tree and strip of grass from Gretna have been found in the dividing line between Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
Since the theft, frantic negotiations have taken place between the Scottish Assembly and Westminster to try and re-establish the border with some precision. Early efforts suggested that Scotland should include all areas with signs indicating that a person was present in Scotland. However, the involvement of Scotland Yard in the investigation soon highlighted the problem of this approach. An attempt by London MPs to redraw the border based on "where people started talking funny" was also abandoned at an early stage, as this would have involved Scotland extending as far South as Birmingham. Similar attempts to re-establish the border based on porridge-eating and cultural transvestism also failed, as it was revealed that these practices were, inexplicably, not just confined to the wilderness of Scotland.
As the negotiations continue, experts have warned that it may not be possible to properly distinguish between England and Scotland again until next Summer when a clear divide will be shown between the two nations by their reactions to England's exit from the World Cup in the group stages.