Paper Round

It has been a strange old week for charity shops. According to The Times, bewildered volunteers at a Mind shop in Exeter have been told to stop singing to customers in case the Performing Rights Society thinks their melodic outbursts are inspired by an illicit radio.

Shops have to buy a £60 licence if they play music audible to customers - and Mind doesn't want PRS spooks hitting it with a £500 fine on the strength of a ropey old wireless unearthed from under a pile of underskirts from the 50s that the shop cat uses as a chaise longue.

Any resident feline would have been the first to scarper after burglars set off a sprinkler system in the flat above a Kent Oxfam shop. The manager of the shop in New Ash Green chose her words less than carefully. "I was standing there and all of a sudden this deluge of cold water hit me and I was drowned from head to toe," she told "All of a sudden the ceiling tiles were plopping down and I was ducking and diving around."

The thieves stripped the flat of radiators and copper piping before making their ill-starred attempt to nick the sprinkler. They got away, but if a soggy shyster accosts you in a Kent pub and tries to sell you a genuine antique heating system, you know who to call.

If your charity shop has a pile of donated clothes that need ironing, get yourself down to Andover, Hampshire, where one heroic gent is trying to break the world ironing endurance record.

According to, the masochistic philanthropist hopes to raise £500 for a local hospital charity appeal by steaming along for 60 hours. You'd have to multiply that figure by at least 10 before Paper Round's antique Rowenta went anywhere near a creased shirt.

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